Russian agencies: Syrian government raises flag in Douma

Russian agencies: Syrian government raises flag in Douma

Mattis spoke before a House Armed Services Committee hearing a day after Trump taunted Russia, warning of an attack in Syria.

Trump has discussed possible options on Syria with both French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. It's not known if Trump will attend the meeting but he made his views clear in a Twitter tirade earlier Wednesday, warning Moscow to "get ready" for missiles launched at Syria. "So he needs to take action".

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday the U.S. has an obligation to lead an international response to the attack, and that Trump has the authority to use military force. "You should not be a partner with Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it".

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

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

"The department does not comment on potential future military actions".

But many of Syria's most sensitive military facilities are protected by Russian missile defence systems or are located at bases where Russian, Iranian and Syrian personnel cohabit. Iran-backed militiamen, meanwhile, have been moved to Daraa and areas near the Lebanese border.

"The raised state flag over a building in the town of Douma has heralded the control over this location and therefore over the whole of eastern Ghouta", Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, head of the Russian Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Syria, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Damascus agreed to hand over its chemical arsenal in 2013, narrowly avoiding American and French air strikes in retaliation for a suspected sarin attack.

Senior US military sources say President Assad's forces have already moved some aircraft in an attempt to protect them from attacks.

Douma is allegedly the site of a chemical attack which was reported by rebel-linked activists, including the controversial White Helmets group.

"Trump seems to have signaled there's going to be another military attack - that's not permissible by law", said Murphy, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Assad has been blamed for previous attacks by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and UN-backed war crimes investigators.

Russian officials alleged quickly after last Saturday's suspected attack that the images of victims in Douma were fake.

Moisi stressed the "risk of escalation" of the conflict amid increasing concerns about a U.S. -Russia proxy war.

US President Donald Trump isn't bluffing about retaliatory missile strikes on Syria, according to one Middle East expert. For one, Trump said the missiles headed toward Syria include some that are "smart".

As the administration prepares a counter response to the latest attack, which appeared to target civilians and young children, Mr. Trump warned in a tweet Wednesday morning that some sort of missile strike was forthcoming.

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