US-Russian tensions escalate over Syrian chemical attack

US, France and UK discuss gas attack response

US, France and UK discuss gas attack response

In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned.

But it also raises questions of how significant a US strike can be without ruffling Russia's feathers and of how committed Russia is to protecting the Syrian government from Western attacks. British officials said up to 75 people were killed. "We don't participate in Twitter diplomacy".

Soon after the suspected gas attack, Trump said those responsible would pay a "big price".

"Our strategy remains the same as a year ago", he said.

Trump has suggested that he has little doubt that Syrian government forces are to blame for what he says was a chemical attack, but neither he nor other administration officials have produced hard evidence.

"We're looking very, very seriously, very closely at the whole situation", he told reporters.

The horrifying images emerging from Douta, a suburb of Damascus, of dying women and children foaming at the mouth further strained already fraught relations between the West and Russia.

"The aim is to soften the rigidity of Assad, to push him to accept, at least, starting of a peace process in Syria", he said.

"They (the three leaders) agreed that the international community needed to respond to uphold the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, " the statement continued.

"If there is a strike by the Americans, then ... the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired", Zasypkin, the Russian ambassador, told Hezbollah's al-Manar TV, speaking in Arabic.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed Russian suggestions that Saturday's attack in Douma could have been faked and said Trump was still weighing military options in response.

Trump had on Monday warned of a quick, forceful response once responsibility for the attack was established. Initial reports indicated the use of chlorine gas, possibly in addition to the nerve agent Sarin. Russia vetoed a U.S. -proposed measure to create a commission to investigate the attack.

United States President Donald Trump has tweeted that Russia should be ready for a missile strike in Syria.

The NATO alliance gave its full backing; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels that the attack was about ensuring that chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity.

Asked about the risks of U.S. military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties.

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he sees no legal justification for a U.S. strike in Syria, absent explicit authorization by Congress. More broadly, he doubted the wisdom of bombing. "We need to know where that's going, what the purpose of it is before we take that act". "And the special forces of a state with is leading a Russophobic campaign played a role in the staging", he added. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart!" The air base the US hit with sea-based cruise missiles began launching aircraft again within 24 hours of the strike.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria".

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