Syria 'chemical attack': United States weighs up military response


Syria 'chemical attack': United States weighs up military response

Russian military police had also been deployed in the town, Moscow said, as Russia prepared the ground for a delegation of specialists from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

That doesn't mean Americans shouldn't worry about how Trump might try to use strikes in Syria to divert attention away from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, help himself electorally or encourage calamitous wars with Iran or even North Korea.

Loud explosions rocked Syria's capital and filled the sky with heavy smoke early Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons.

Syrian media reported that air defences had hit 13 incoming rockets south of Damascus.

Syrian forces fired 40 surface-to-air missiles during the operation, mostly after the attack was over, he said.

The Jaish al-Islam group in Douma agreed on Sunday to withdraw, hours after a suspected chemical weapons attack on the town that has raised the prospect of USA strikes.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis took a more measured tone, saying the USA and its military coalition partners were still studying intelligence on the attack.

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Trump's threats to attack are "reckless" and endanger global peace and security.

FILE - This Sunday, April 8, 2018 file image made from video released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows medical workers treating toddlers following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria.

But the strike was limited and created to not draw America into the chaos of Syria's bloody civil war.

Trump directed a morning tweet at Russian Federation, the Syrian government's primary ally in the years-long civil war President Bashar Assad has waged against rebel groups.

US President Donald Trump isn't bluffing about retaliatory missile strikes on Syria, according to one Middle East expert.

He added that if the leaked targets and scope is accurate, then "it is unlikely that it will make much of a difference, in terms of the direction of the conflict and, importantly, in the Assad regime efforts to reconstitute his chemical weapons program".

"Germany agrees with its allies that the use of chemical weapons must have consequences".

Despite the president's rhetoric, it's still not exactly clear what Trump's next move will be, but after reports of a retaliatory strike from USA ally Israel on Syria surfaced this week, the prospect of American military involvement began to grow with each presidential tweet.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria", Trump tweeted. He called on Moscow to change course and join the West in seeking a more responsible regime in Damascus.

Trump on Wednesday vowed to thwart Russia's missile defense system in Syria, warning that rockets "will be coming, nice and new and 'smart.'" In tweeting about a potential attack, Trump appeared to publicly telegraph military plans - something for which he heavily criticized former President Barack Obama back in 2013.

The OPCW does not have a mandate to establish who is responsible for attacks, and the joint OPCW-U.N. taskforce that once did was shut down by Russian Federation previous year after it blamed the Syria regime.

FILE - EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT - This Sunday, April.

Last year's strike destroyed a number of aircraft and their hangars, the Pentagon said at the time, but did not hinder the base's ability to launch aircraft for long.

"The army, which is advancing rapidly and with determination, does not need to use any kind of chemical agents", the statement said.

In his nationwide address, Trump stressed that he has no interest in a longtime fight with Syria.

"It's just terrible what happened in Syria", the congressman said". "As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home".

Britain continues to support the US-led coalition targeting IS jihadists in Iraq and Syria, and has conducted more than 1,700 strikes. They are in eastern Syria, far from Damascus. From a distance, US missiles hitting suburbs of the capital sounded like thunder.