President Donald Trump said Thursday that an attack on Syria could take place "very soon or not so soon at all", arguing he had never signaled the timing of retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack that he had suggested was imminent a day earlier.
The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a brief statement after Mr. Trump met with Mr. Mattis and other members of his National Security Council- "No final decision has been made".
"With every victory achieved on the field, the voices of some Western states are raised and actions are intensified in an attempt by them to change the course of events. these voices and any possible action will contribute nothing but an increase in instability in the region, threatening global peace and security", Mr al Assad said according to Syrian state television.
"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded". Trump wrote in a Thursday morning tweet that an attack could happen "very soon or not so soon at all". "They will be coming, nice and new and smart", Trump tweeted.
The United States accused the Syrian government on Friday of using banned chemical arms at least 50 times since Syria's civil war began seven years ago - far higher than the number of attacks that had been publicly confirmed.
The U.S., France and Britain have been in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as the end of this week, U.S. officials have said.
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.
Amid the talk of military action, the Kremlin, a close ally of Assad, countered that more "serious approaches" were needed to combat the crisis. Syria and Russian Federation denied the attack.
"That's a case that I've made going back many, many years in Parliament", he added.
As tensions mount between the USA and Russian Federation over a possible U.S. strike, the Kremlin said a crisis communications link with the United States meant to avoid an accidental clash over Syria was being used by both sides. "We need to know where that's going, what the objective of it is before we take that act".
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 Russian ambassador, Vasily A. Nebenzya, accused the United States and its allies of reckless Middle East warmongering by threatening Syria with military force.
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