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United States allies and Russian Federation prepare for Syria confrontation

15 April 2018

Haley, the US ambassador to the U.N., told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that should the United States and its allies decide to act in Syria, it would be to defend "a bedrock worldwide norm that benefits all nations" - the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons.

Russia's Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin said any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launching sites targeted.

Our Bae Joo-yon has more.

On Sunday, Trump blamed the newest attack, allegedly carried out with chlorine and possibly a nerve agent, on the Russian-backed regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria's Foreign Ministry said it was not surprised by the U.S.' "reckless escalation" via Trump's tweets, the state-run news agency SANA reported, while Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a Facebook post that "smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legal government that has been fighting global terrorism for several years on its territory".

In another series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump bemoaned the state of relations between the United States and Russian Federation.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the USA stands ready to provide military options, if they're appropriate.

Before the meeting, Trump said, "We have a lot of options militarily" and a decision will be made "shortly".

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"We are not surprised by this reckless escalation from a regime like the one in the United States, which has and continues to sponsor terrorism in Syria", the ministry said, adding that statements from Washington lack "wisdom and logic" and endanger worldwide peace and security.

Since joining the conflict in 2015, Russian Federation has twice vetoed UNSC resolutions aimed at extending independent investigations into chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Trump's position was bolstered on Wednesday by a statement from the World Health Organisation, which said chemical weapons were used in Douma to kill at least 70 people and injure as many as 500.

The Russian foreign ministry said Moscow sought no escalation of the situation, but could not support "dishonest accusations" and had found no evidence of a chemical weapons attack in Douma.

At the same time Mrs May is under pressure to give Parliament the chance to vote before committing United Kingdom forces to any new action in Syria, amid fears it could draw the West into direct conflict with Assad's main backer, Russia. Missiles could disrupt radio navigation equipment, the agency said.

Trump on Wednesday had warned Russian Federation to "get ready" for a missile attack on its ally Syria.

Syrian government forces have raised their flag over the last rebel bastion in eastern Ghouta, taking full control of the town of Douma as insurgents withdraw, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday, sealing a major victory for President Bashar al-Assad. The president warned in tweets, those missiles will be coming nice, new and smart.

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"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

By avoiding hitting Russian forces in Syria, experts told Business Insider the United States runs a much lower risk of a conflict escalating.

Mr Macron indicted any potential air strike would target Syria's chemical weapon supplies.

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

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria".

US officials tell The Associated Press that the allies have weighed launching a military strike as early as the end of this week.

The president plans to speak with French President Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May Thursday evening, Sanders added.

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United States allies and Russian Federation prepare for Syria confrontation