Trump Attempts to Cloud Timing of Potential Syria Strike

Trump Attempts to Cloud Timing of Potential Syria Strike

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in her response to Trump's tweet said: "Smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not [Syria's] lawful government, which has spent several years fighting against international terrorism on its territory".

Syria's attempt to shelter aircraft, perhaps by locating them alongside Russian military hardware that Washington might be reluctant to hit, could limit damage that the US and its allies might be able to inflict on Mr Assad's military.

"We expect the mission to go without any delay to Douma where Russian specialists who examined this place have not found any confirmations of the use of chemical weapons", he said.

President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday France had proof the Syrian government carried out the Douma attack and would decide whether to strike back when all necessary information had been gathered.

On Sunday, the day after the attack, the US president said Russian President Vladimir Putin bore responsibility for the "atrocity" in rebel-held Douma, because of his support for the Syrian government.

President Donald Trump just tweeted a warning that an attack on Syria is imminent - breaking his own policy of not signaling upcoming military moves.

Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia responded that no one gave the US or the West "the authority to act as gendarmes, policemen of the world", and demanded that they "return to the legal fold". The price of Brent crude rose to $73, levels not seen since 2014. Appearing before the House Armed Services Committee, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told lawmakers that the use of chemical weapons was "inexcusable".

In his tweet on Wednesday, Trump referred to Assad as a "gas killing animal".

Syrian opposition activists and medics say a suspected gas attack last week in Douma killed more than 40 people. "On Thursday, Mr. Trump tweeted that missiles, "new" and "'smart'" are coming.

"Our role in Syria is the defeat of ISIS", he said. But the same officials also said Trump's direct threat was unexpected.

These allegations may be part of an escalating war of words between Britain and Russia.

The US and France said they had proof it took place and, alongside the UK, were considering military retaliation.

"I don't want to talk about a specific attack that is not yet in the offing".

But on a strategic level, the question "is how do we keep this from escalating out of control".

Wednesday's missile announcement also follows another one of the president's announcements, in which Trump stated that he is planning on removing troops from the country in Western Asia.

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