Kremlin Spokesman Warns Against Syria Strike

EPA-EFE  Bart Maat

Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, was the last rebel-held area in the eastern Ghouta region.

US President Donald Trump is weighing all options on the table with regard to Syria as he holds the Syrian regime and Russian Federation responsible for the latest chemical weapons attack, the White House said today, adding that no final decision has been taken yet on the military response.

Asked about possible US strikes on Syria, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that "it's necessary to avoid any steps that may fuel tensions in Syria". British officials said up to 75 people were killed.

Initially, an attack in Syria seemed all but certain, with the president tweeting a warning to Russian Federation to "get ready' and talking about missiles that are "nice and new and smart" - words that put the USA military on alert". Commenting on the earlier statement by Moscow's envoy to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, who warned that the Russian military reserves the right to intercept incoming missile and strike launch sites in case of an attack, Zakharova said that the envoy's words should be understood in the sense that Russia will not abandon its people.

The drumbeat of military action appeared to grow louder, as Russian Federation stonewalled diplomatic efforts at the United Nations and France declared "proof" that Moscow's Syrian ally carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack that killed more than 40 Syrians.

During his testimony, Mattis spoke about a possible strike against Syria.

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Analysts agreed that in striking Syria without U.N. authorization - impossible given Russia's repeated vetoes on the Security Council - the United States, Britain, France were relying instead on a nebulous concept of "legal morality".

The UN Security Council, tasked with maintaining global peace and security, has been riven, with Moscow virulently denying the Douma attack took place, or postulating that it was carried out by rebels. France has also said it would join the military action.

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".

The recent military victories Syrian army gained in Douma and elsewhere in Eastern Ghouta were the main reasons behind Trump's threat to attack Syria, al-Atrash said. Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the creation of a broad global coalition against terrorism during his speech at the United Nations back in 2015, Zakharova reminded, adding that the proposal "is still on the table".

Russian Federation has been involved in the Syrian conflict since 2015 and became Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main ally in the war against armed opposition groups. USA lawmakers questioned whether Trump has the legal authority to order strikes without Congressional approval and opposition parties voiced concern.

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