Trump felt misled, angry over expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats

Vassily Nebenzia

During a week of tense sabre-rattling, Russian officials periodically warned the United States that a military response may spiral out of control to war.

Nebenzia also called for the UN Security Council to meet again on Friday to discuss the possibility of Western military action.

"The mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has set off to Syria not so quickly and without abundant enthusiasm but under our and Syrian pressure".

What is the West planning?

Western officials believe chlorine was used in Saturday's attack on Douma, the main city in the longtime rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta, where the British government now estimates 75 people were killed.

The suspected poison attack by Syrian government forces that allegedly killed more than 40 people has drawn worldwide outrage and prompted the United States and its allies to consider a military response.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday said Moscow had "irrefutable" evidence that an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged with the help of a foreign secret service.

But the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), which records alleged violations of worldwide law in Syria, said bodies were found with oral foaming, cyanosis, and corneal burns.

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Trump said the strikes were meant to deter the use of chemical weapons like the attack on civilians in the Syrian town of Douma last week, and that the US was prepared to continue the attacks until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.

Moscow on Saturday strongly criticized the joint the USA, United Kingdom and France airstrikes targeting the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons in Syria.

There have been calls from opposition parties and some Conservative MPs for Parliament to have a vote beforehand.

The prospect of Western military action in Syria that could lead to confrontation with Russian Federation hung over the Middle East yesterday but there was no clear sign that a United States-led attack was imminent. "It will just take more lives and spawn the war elsewhere".

The strikes hit three sites - one in Damascus and two in Homs - which US President Donald Trump said were "associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad". The Kremlin readout said that Putin warned against rushing to blame the Syrian government before conducting a "thorough and objective probe". "We can not take such risks", he said at a forum.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said global relations should not depend on one person's morning mood, in apparent reference to Mr Trump's tweets. An attack, the president said "could be very soon or not so soon at all!" A Downing Street spokesperson added: "They agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged, and on the need to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime". She also told Russian Federation if it had done its job then Assad wouldn't have these weapons.

Mattis appealed at the meeting for more time to gather evidence to prove the Assad regime was responsible for the attack.

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