Trump puts off decision on Syria strike

Trump puts off decision on Syria strike

President Donald Trump sought to explain his Wednesday tweet threatening to strike Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in a follow on tweet Thursday.

Trump is now weighing a response to the alleged chemical attack, which he has blamed on Syrian President Bashar Assad. Trump wrote on Twitter, raising the prospect that an attack might not be as imminent as he seemed to suggest the day before.

Cabinet ministers emerged tight-lipped from the unusually long meeting as No 10 awaited the next move from the White House, where Donald Trump convened a meeting of his own national security council. "We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies".

In the past, Trump has condemned others for forecasting military plans, repeatedly blistering President Barack Obama during the 2016 campaign. USA officials noted that Washington was still assessing intelligence and coordinating allies.

Russia, a key ally of Syrian leader Bashar Assad, has said it has found no evidence that a chemical weapons attack occurred last Saturday and has blamed Syrian rebels for the attack. That strike did not appear to have had the desired effect of deterring Assad from further use of chemical agents.

Despite the rhetoric, the US administration hasn't decided how to retaliate against Assad, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday, adding that the president has been in talks with a number of key allies in recent days.

The world health organization says 43 people have now died from Saturday's apparent attack and more than 500 have been treated.

Assad's victory in the seven-year civil war "will change the map of the region", and the "biggest loser" will be Israel, she said.

Zakharova said that a possible U.S. missile strike could be an attempt to destroy evidence of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma. Syria's official SANA news agency reported.

Moscow on Thursday called for restraint and said a "de-confliction" line, created to prevent a confrontation between USA and Russian Federation, was in operation.

"France will not allow any escalation that could harm the stability of the region as a whole but we can't let regimes that think they can do everything they want, including the worst things that violate worldwide law, to act", Macron said.

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Russian lawmakers have warned the United States that Moscow would view an airstrike on Syria as a war crime and that it could trigger a direct U.S-Russian military clash.

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", he told reporters on Thursday.

Inspectors from the global Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said a fact-finding mission would start work in Douma on Saturday.

The U.S., France and Britain have been consulting about launching a military strike, but the timing and scale of any action remain unclear.

Following the alleged attack, an aide to Trump said Sunday that no response was "off the table" when it came to responding to the suspected incident.

He said he would also strive to prevent an escalation of conflict across the Middle East.

"I don't want to talk about a specific attack that is not yet in the offing". Any US strike would probably involve the navy, given the risk to aircraft from Russian and Syrian air defences.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would decide whether to strike Syrian government targets after the reported attack by internationally banned chemical munitions in Douma once all the necessary information had been gathered.

As diplomatic tensions mounted between Western nations and Russian Federation, an emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council was also called on Thursday, at the request of Bolivia. Videos and photos from the site of the attack, along with witness testimony contradicted that, and on Thursday, the US reportedly received physical evidence. A USA guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean.

Douma was the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus.

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