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No 'final decision' from Trump on Syria

15 April 2018

China on Thursday expressed concern of rising tensions in Syria, and called on all relevant parties of the Syria issue to remain calm and show restraint.

"Parliament must be consulted on this", he said.

Her office said that May had talked with US President Donald Trump by telephone on Thursday evening to discuss Syria.

A White House statement released later said the United States is continuing to assess intelligence and is engaged in conversations with its partners and allies.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron is expected to clarify his position later on Thursday in a television interview -- only his third since taking office a year ago. And he insisted it remains USA policy not to be involved directly in Syria's civil war.

"What we've got here in Syria is a choice between monsters on the one hand and maniacs on the other", Julian Lewis, the chairman of the House of Commons defence committee, told the BBC.

The president made his latest statement in a tweet Thursday morning.

Later Thursday he was noncommittal.

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"You don't rush decisions like this", Haley told reporters ahead of the meeting - the fourth on Syria at the council this week.

He has previously told his national security team he wants USA troops to exit Syria within six months.

Conservative former London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, tweeted: "We need a clear response to the Syrian chemical outrage".

Asked about consulting the U.S, which has also threatened military action, Le Drian said "France is autonomous in taking its decisions".

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.

Macron said Thursday that France has proof that the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks and said France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted". Syria has denied carrying out such an attack.

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

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he believes there was a chemical attack in Syria and that the United States is looking for the evidence.

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A UN-led panel has determined that Assad's forces had used sarin in the town of Khan Sheikhun last yaer and chlorine in at least three attacks on villages in 2014 and 2015. Trump said Thursday on Twitter. It was not clear whether the presence of the investigators could affect the timing of any US military action.

According to the sources, the specific response being considered in the event of US military action against Syria is Japan's "support for the USA resolve to fulfill its responsibility to prevent the use of chemical weapons".

Asked about the risks of USA military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties. "We are not seeking escalation".

Earlier in the week, Trump suggested he was committed to ordering strikes in Syria. More broadly, he doubted the wisdom of bombing.

"Those two things, I'm assured, we will get an answer to today", he said. "We need to know where that's going, what the goal of it is before we take that act".

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.

Half a world away in New York, Russia's United Nations ambassador warned the priority in Syria was to avert US-led strikes that could lead to a risky confrontation between the world's two preeminent nuclear powers.

At the House hearing, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, disputed Trump's legal authority to act without congressional authority and suggested a USA strike would lead to war with Russian Federation.

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No 'final decision' from Trump on Syria