UK's May says Syria chemical weapons can't go unchallenged

Posted April 12, 2018

The rebel Syria Civil Defense Force claimed more than 40 people were killed and entire families were gassed to death in Saturday's attack by Assad's forces on the town of Douma.

Syria's Bashar Assad has fled the presidential palace in fear of a US-led air attack.

If the United States action follows the pattern of a previous punitive strike on Syria past year, it will begin with a salvo of cruise missiles fired from American warships in the Mediterranean, as Trump implied when he tweeted they would be "nice, new and "smart".

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Trump's threats to attack are "reckless" and endanger global peace and security. "I don't believe that a clash between Russian Federation and the U.S.is possible".

Now a scramble is on to prepare for whatever might come next.

Would U.S. allies join in the fight?

Smeeth said the images of the chlorine gas attack were heartbreaking. It was unclear whether his remarks reflected any unease about Trump's apparent move toward military action.

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The officials declined further comment and it was not clear whether the Syrian moves would impact U.S. military planning for potential action against Syria over a suspected poison gas attack. USA officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have since reported around 10 suspected chemical attacks of varying scale and certainty.

"The president holds Syria and Russian Federation responsible for this chemical weapons attack", she said.

Paramedics said numerous victims in Douma were brought to medical centers complaining of difficulty breathing, foaming at the mouth and burning sensations in the eyes.

"These things really need a United Nations investigation and a force that can move in quickly", he said.

"Everybody's drawing red lines and as soon as one side crosses the red lines, that forces the other side to respond", he said. Last year's retaliatory strike was a sign he is serious.

Trump has been weighing his course of action in Syria following the suspected chemical attack, which he described as "sick" over the weekend.

"If there is a strike by the Americans, then. the missiles will be downed and the source of the missiles targeted", Zasypkin told Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV station.

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Asked about the Russian statement, an Israeli military spokesman said he had no immediate comment. Nebenzia alleged that the anti-government forces had chemical weapons and could stage an attack.

The prime minister is under pressure to make an early decision over whether the United Kingdom will join any military campaign, as Donald Trump adopts an increasingly bellicose tone. Trump is embroiled in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and is fuming at federal agents digging into his personal affairs.

When then-U.S. president Barack Obama almost attacked Syrian forces in September 2013 following a similar chemical assault, Al Assad and his forces were reeling.

Bolivia, one of 10 non-permanent council members and a strong supporter of Russian Federation, requested the meeting to address "the recent escalation of rhetoric regarding Syria and the threat of the use of unilateral actions", according to the request sent Wednesday and seen by AFP. Less than two weeks ago, Trump said he wanted to bring US troops home from Syria.

Zasypkin also said a clash between Russian Federation and the United States over Syria "should be ruled out and therefore we are ready to hold negotiations".

An even more threatening situation may evolve if the US and its allies use manned aircraft, and the Russian strike results in casualties.

Russian Federation was quick to come to their allies' side after the latest chemical attack.

There are 25 air bases in Syria, including 21 under government control. Others include Shayrat, the base the USA hit with 59 cruise missiles in April 2017 in retaliation for the suspected sarin gas attack, and T4, the base targeted by the suspected Israeli airstrike this week.

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The tough rhetoric of the USA and its allies follows April 7 reports from Syrian opposition media outlets, which claimed that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons against civilians in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.