Russian Federation and U.S. engage in risky saber-rattling over Syria

Russian Federation and U.S. engage in risky saber-rattling over Syria

Last April, when USA warships in the Mediterranean fired cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, Russian forces were warned in advance and pulled out of the target area, which was rapidly repaired.

The Security Council is scheduled to meet on Thursday at the request of Bolivia, which wants to discuss the escalation of rhetoric over Syria and threats of unilateral military action.

Disputing the Russian military's contention that Syrian air defence units downed 71 allied missiles, McKenzie said no USA or allies missiles were stopped.

The WHO said 43 people had died in Saturday's attack on Douma from "symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals", and more than 500 had been treated.

Why is the West considering military action?

Trump's tweets were more belligerent - he told Russia "You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" - and declared that U.S. relations with Russia have plunged to a historic low.

Macron kept up the drumbeat for likely war with his claim of evidence that chemical weapons were used in the attack, although he did not elaborate.

As of Saturday, neither Syria nor its Russian or Iranian allies retaliated, Pentagon officials said.

The US' relationship with Russia is worse than the Cold War era, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday and blamed special investigator Robert Mueller's "fake and corrupt" investigations into the Russian meddling in 2016 election for the "bad blood" between the two countries.

Douma and the sprawling eastern Ghouta region near the capital, Damascus, had been under rebel control since 2012 and was a thorn in the side of Assad's government, threatening his seat of power with missiles and potential advances for years.

Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are expected to arrive in Syria over the weekend to investigate the reported attack, following an invitation from Damascus.

Biological samples from the area of the attack in Syria have tested positive for chlorine and a sarin-like nerve agent, according to a USA official who's familiar with the U.S. analysis of the test results.

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At the United Nations meeting, Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari warned that Syria would respond if the U.S. moved against his country.

Volunteer first responders and activists claimed a chemical attack by the Syrian government killed more than 40 people in the town of Douma, which drew global outrage and prompted Washington and its allies to consider a military response.

In the wake of last weekend's gruesome attack, some US officials advocated a larger, and therefore riskier, strike than the limited action Trump ordered in April 2017, also in response to suspected chemical weapons use.

Shaaban concluded by saying that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has always been strong and calm.

They agreed to "keep working closely" on the issue, Mrs May's office said in a statement.

President Vladimir Putin later referred to this claim, saying on April 4 that Russian Federation had "irrefutable proof" that rebels were planning an attack with "poisonous substances".

Israel held top-level security consultations on Wednesday amid concern it could be targeted by Syria or Iran if the United States strikes Syrian government forces. Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' Trump tweeted. It "could be very soon or not so soon at all".

He later told reporters at the White House: "We're having a meeting today on Syria".

Assad said Thursday that Western threats to strike Syria are based on "lies" and seek to undermine his forces' advances near Damascus.

Defense Secretary James Mattis strongly urged the president during a meeting on Thursday to rethink his attack on Syria.

Russian Federation continues to dispute that the attack took place at all.

Trump then singled out Russian President Vladimir Putin and said, "Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace".