Syrian regime 'highly likely' to blame for chemical attack, United Kingdom says

14 April, 2018, 14:00 | Author: Hope Soto
  • A man stands on rubble of damaged buildings in the besieged town of Douma Eastern Ghouta in Damascus Syria

President Donald Trump said Thursday a decision on US action in Syria would come "very soon or not so soon", signaling a slowing of what had seemed a quick drive for airstrikes in retaliation for the suspected use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.

Two days ago US President Donald Trump warned that missiles "will be coming" in response to that attack.

Meanwhile, Russia have again sided with Assad and the Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, has said: "The Syrian government had been repeatedly warning for at least a month that rebels prepared to stage a provocation with chemical weapons in this very area".

On Wednesday, a top official from Iran, Assad's other main ally, toured eastern Ghouta and vowed to stand by Syria in the face of "any foreign aggression".

Mrs May has faced calls to wait for unequivocal proof of a chemical attack by the Assad regime before committing British forces to retaliatory action.

"America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria", Trump said from the White House.

White Helmets first-responder volunteer and activists claimed an alleged chemical attack on April 7 by the Syrian government killed over 40 people in the town of Douma, the allegations that drew global outrage and prompted Washington and its allies to consider a military response.

French President Emmanuel Macron, a key ally in the USA -led coalition in Syria, said Thursday, however, that the evidence was clear enough.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Defense Secretary James Mattis stressed Wednesday after Trump's tweet that no decision to strike Syria had yet been made.

Russia's military said on Thursday that Douma was now under full control of the Syrian government after a Russian-mediated deal secured the evacuation of the rebels and thousands of civilians after it was recaptured by Syrian forces.

Reporter: "Is the USA military ready right now to conduct a retaliatory strike, if ordered?"

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His comments came amid reports of a looming U.S. military attack on Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Damascus, which the Syrian government vehemently denies. Syria and Russian Federation deny that Assad's forced deployed chemical agents.

A spokesman said: "Cabinet agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged. I think the US has an obligation to lead an worldwide response to hold people accountable for that", Ryan told reporters.

The Prime Minister summoned ministers to No 10 after saying "all the indications" were that the regime was responsible for an alleged chemical attack on its own people last weekend.

Russian Federation has threatened to respond firmly to any military action against the Syrian Government.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the remaining rebels in Eastern Ghouta surrendered their heavy weapons to Russian military police and their leader left the enclave for the north.

In April previous year Trump ordered Tomahawk strikes on the Shayrat Airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack on rebel-held Khan Sheikhun.

These two ships, possibly aided by a USA submarine, are likely to play a role in a strike.

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Asked about the risks of USA military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties.

Mattis also ignored a question about whether he was concerned about telegraphing U.S. military moves in Syria, a question appearing to refer to Trump's earlier tweet on Wednesday. We are united in our resolve that Assad's barbaric use of chemical weapons can not go unanswered. Russia's ambassador to Lebanon said any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launching sites targeted - a stark warning of a potential major confrontation. USA lawmakers questioned whether Trump has the legal authority to order strikes without Congressional approval and opposition parties voiced concern.



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