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United States wrestles with Russian Federation in Syria for settling scores among powers

16 April 2018

At a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Pentagon's 2019 budget request, Mattis said that because the US had no one at the site of the suspected chemical attack in Syria last Saturday, the USA has no hard evidence of what happened.

White Helmets first-responders and Syrian activists have claimed the suspected chemical attack was carried out by the Syrian government on April 7 and killed more than 40 people in Douma, allegations that drew global outrage and prompted Washington and its allies to consider a military response.

At the Pentagon, the director of the Joint Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, said the more than 100 missile strikes delivered a blow late Friday to the "heart" of Syria's chemical weapons network.

A pre-designed scenario is being implemented.

The U.N. ambassador said the the United States would continue to seek out and call out anyone who uses or aids the use of chemical weapons.

Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the military had "proof that testifies to the direct participation of Britain in the organising of this provocation in Eastern Ghouta".

She said "the United States estimates that (President Bashar) Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times". A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the the lead, could send a message of worldwide unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons and counter Syria's political and military support from Russian Federation and Iran.

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President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on Friday, April 13, 2018, in Washington, about the United States' military response to Syria's chemical weapon attack on April 7.

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the US-led missile attack on Syria and has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

Trump's U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, told the session that the president has made it clear that if Assad uses poison gas again, "the United States is locked and loaded".

Anatoly Antonov said in a statement on Friday (US eastern time) that Russian Federation had warned that "such actions will not be left without consequences" and "all responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris".

British Prime Minister Theresa May won backing from her senior ministers on Thursday to take unspecified action with the United States and France to deter further use of chemical weapons by Syria.

If confirmed, the town's seizure would mark the last stage of Assad's takeover of the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta.

The allies reportedly had conclusive evidence that Syria used chemical weapons on its own people. The White House said it was continuing to assess intelligence and talk to its allies on how to respond.

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Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said Donald Trump's threat to launch missiles at Syrian forces was a "test for each and every country (with troops in Syria) to protect its people on the ground".

Trump's spokeswoman dismissed this idea, and pointedly refused to acknowledge that concern about the risks of a direct confrontation with Russian Federation would hold the USA military back.

Moscow and Washington blocked attempts by each other at the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday to set up worldwide investigations into chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Syria's President Bashar Assad announced after a USA military strike that his country would respond, while Russia's ambassador to Washington warned of unspecified "consequences".

The strategy that unfolded this week included a deception in which Navy warships were maneuvered to persuade the Russians - falsely - that the ships would take part in a strike, the official said. It said another attack with "a number of missiles" targeting a scientific research center destroyed a building and caused other material damage but no human losses.

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he hoped common sense would prevail and that the situation would stabilise.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May held a special cabinet meeting to consider whether Britain should join the U.S. and France in possible military action.

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She also noted that Trump has said "he intends to hold Russian and Iran accountable for enabling the Assad regime and its war crimes".

United States wrestles with Russian Federation in Syria for settling scores among powers