Trump huddles with war cabinet, vows Syria decision 'fairly soon'

  • Trump huddles with war cabinet, vows Syria decision 'fairly soon'

Trump huddles with war cabinet, vows Syria decision 'fairly soon'

After initially blaming the US and France for the missile attack, Russia's military says two Israeli jets fired eight missiles at the Syrian base.

At stake in Syria is the potential for confrontation, if not outright conflict, between the US and Russian Federation, former Cold War foes whose relations have deteriorated in recent years over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and, most recently, its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Merkel said in Berlin: "Germany will not take part in possible military action - I want to make clear again that there are no decisions - but we see, and support this, that everything is being done to send a signal that this use of chemical weapons is not acceptable".

Assad has been blamed for previous chemical attacks by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and UN-backed war crimes investigators, and in April 2017, the United States launched a cruise missile strike against a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a sarin attack on Khan Shaikun the United Nations later pinned on the regime. Senator Edward Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticised Trump's warnings that he intends to conduct military strikes in retaliation against Assad's use of chemical weapons. British officials said up to 75 people were killed.

The tweet followed an appearance by Russia's ambassador to Syrian-allied Lebanon, who told the Hezbollah-run television network Al-Manar that United States missiles would be shot down by Russian Federation, "as well as the sources they were fired from". And as recently as March 29, Trump mulled ending US military action in Syria now that the Islamic State's presence and power there is decimated.

"I want to stress one more time and that was an idea of Lebanon's ambassador that Russian Federation will protect its people on the ground", she said.

Assad said Thursday that Western countries were lashing out after they lost their "bet" on opposition forces in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of the capital. A Syrian government air base near Homs, which is said to be home Iranian fighters allied with Assad, was struck by missiles.

U.S. officials have refused to rule out direct military engagement with Russian Federation, with the White House saying "all options are on the table".

The suspected use of chemical weapons has drawn the West back into Syria's seven-year conflict.

Syrian opposition activists and rescuers say a chemical attack launched by government forces in a rebel-held area near Damascus late Saturday killed more than 40 people, allegations denied by the Syrian government. It was not clear whether the presence of the investigators could affect the timing of any USA military action.

A French frigate, UK Royal Navy submarines laden with cruise missiles and the USS Donald Cook, an American destroyer equipped with Tomahawk land attack missiles have all moved into range of Syria's sun-bleached coast.

France says it will decide in the coming days whether to launch a military strike over a suspected chemical attack in Syria.

Speaking to reporters in Romania, Le Drian says: "We are very the president of the Republic said. this situation can't be tolerated".

Since Saturday, when images of ashen toddlers struggling for breath emerged from Douma - the main city in the Eastern Ghouta enclave near Damascus that has been a crucible of revolt against Bashar Al-Assad's regime - there has been a sustained military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean.

In case the regime captures East Ghouta, Israel may consider the situation a blow to its security while the U.S. and some European Union countries, including France, will be disturbed with the idea that Russian Federation would be free to clear the capital, therefore the route to the Mediterranean Sea, from the opposition groups.

There was no immediate confirmation or indication from Assad's government that Syrian troops entered Douma on Thursday.