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Threat of Western Strike on Syria: What is Known So Far

15 April 2018, 07:54 | Devin Moran

Russian air base and warships map

Russian air base and warships map

Theresa May received unanimous cabinet backing for United Kingdom military action against Syrian regime targets after senior ministers were briefed by Sir Mark Sedwill, the national security adviser, on the intelligence case pointing to President Assad's culpability for the Douma attack.

"These voices, and any possible actions, will only contribute to further destabilization in the region", Assad said.

In April past year Trump ordered Tomahawk strikes on the Shayrat Airbase in response to a similar chemical weapons attack on rebel-held Khan Sheikhun.

May's office said in a statement that the Cabinet judged it "highly likely" the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad was behind the chemical attack last weekend in the town of Douma. But he tweeted Thursday that it may come "very soon or not so soon at all!"

"Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'" Mr Trump said in an early morning tweet on Wednesday.

There is no guarantee lawmakers would rubber-stamp a decision for military strikes.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in the Netherlands, announced it was sending a fact-finding team to the site of the attack outside Damascus, and it was due to arrive Saturday.

But across Western capitals opposition to military action also grew.




In a separate development, Reuters cited USA officials as saying that the Syrian military has re-positioned some air assets in response to Trump's threats to possibly ramp up military activity against Damascus.

"On a strategic level, it's how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that", he said.

"Until we have a more long-term strategy, until we have some idea where we're going in Syria and the Middle East, it seems unwise, to me, to start launching missiles", said Smith, D-Wash.

Asked to comment on possible USA strikes, Peskov said "it's necessary to avoid any steps that may fuel tensions in Syria".

The Times reports that "the largest USA air and naval strike force since the 2003 Iraq war" is now heading towards Syria, and that US-led strikes are expected to begin "within the next three days".

Tens of thousands of people have reportedly left Douma through a humanitarian corridor and Russia's defence ministry says the Syrian flag is flying there.

The tweet followed an appearance by Russia's ambassador to Syrian-allied Lebanon, who told the Hezbollah-run television network Al-Manar that United States missiles would be shot down by Russian Federation, "as well as the sources they were fired from".

At the House hearing, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, disputed Trump's legal authority to act without congressional authority and suggested a US strike would lead to war with Russian Federation.



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