Trump attempts to cloud timing of potential Syria strike

16 April, 2018, 01:34 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • EPA-EFE  YOUSSEF BADAWI

The U.S. has obtained blood and urine samples from a suspected chemical attack in Syria that have tested positive for both an unidentified nerve agent and chlorine gas exposure, according to a report published Thursday.

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Trump's threats to attack are "reckless" and endanger worldwide peace and security.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said France has proof that the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks and that France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted". He said he has been talking regularly this week with U.S. President Donald Trump about the most effective response.

Russia's ambassador accused the West of using allegations of chemical attacks as a pretext to advance its sole aim in Syria of overthrowing Assad and keep Moscow's influence in check.

The Assad regime is known to have stocks of the nerve agent sarin, and has previously used a mixture of chlorine and sarin in attacks, say US officials.

Asked whether the USA military was ready to conduct an attack in Syria if ordered, Mattis replied, "We stand ready to provide military options if they're appropriate, as the president determined". The Syrian government has denied the allegations.

It is a military decision and one with enormous risk that could trigger a Russian retaliation, ITV's Robert Moore reports.

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"You are a minority Government, and you need to seek the consent of Parliament before you commit the United Kingdom to any action".

Echoing the USA stance, France's Ambassador Francois Delattre said Assad's government had reached a "point of no return" with repeated use of chemical weapons. "Not to react is to prove to the rest of the world that what we say does not matter".

The British leader's office said Cabinet ministers "agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime". May isn't legally required to do that, though it has become conventional since the 2003 invasion of Iraq for lawmakers to be given the chance to vote before British forces are deployed.

The statement made no specific reference to military action.

France already has some 1,100 troops involved in its Operation Chammal, created in 2014 to fight Islamic State extremists in Iraq and extended in 2015 to Syria, as part of the US -led coalition.

Twenty-one percent of the respondents said they did not know if it was necessary to hold a parliamentary vote on whether London should engage in the military actions against Syria.

Britain has been launching air strikes in Syria from its military base in Cyprus, but only against targets linked to the Islamic State militant group. Multiple IS terror attacks have targeted France, including one last month. The Syrian government has been known to use chlorine bombs, along with sarin, a nerve agent developed by Nazi Germany that was used in a 2013 attack that killed almost 1,500 people outside of Damascus.

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