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United States blames Syria government for gas attack, mulls aggressive strike

16 April 2018

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May said all the indications pointed to Syrian government responsibility for the Douma attack and such "a shocking and barbaric act" could not go unchallenged. In a warning to the West against further strikes on Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said it is now considering arming Assad with Russian S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems for the first time.

Moscow's threat to down U.S. missiles came from its ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, who said it was based on previous statements by President Vladimir Putin and the Russian armed forces chief of staff.

The chairman of the worldwide affairs committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, said the strikes were a violation of worldwide law and probably created to prevent investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog from doing their work.

General Igor Konashenkov, another spokesman for Russia's defence ministry, claims Russian intelligence has strong evidence which proves Great Britain had knowledge of and direct involvement in the attack.

Asked if he meant war between the United States and Russian Federation, he said: "We can not exclude any possibilities unfortunately".

The U.S., U.K., and France launched airstrikes on the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria earlier on Saturday.

Russian Federation has military forces, including air defences, in several areas of Syria to support President Bashar Assad in his long war against anti-government rebels.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said on Saturday that the U.S. will strike Syria again if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons once more.

On Wednesday, the US President said the missiles were "coming", but on Thursday he tweeted that he had "never said when".

The warning came after USA said that it is planning to strike Syria in response to the alleged chemical attack in Damascus earlier this month, which killed dozens.

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.

Chemical weapons attacks are suspected to have taken place in Syria before.

Germany, another important European ally, stayed out of the conflict despite US urging, the White House official said.

"Final decisions haven't been made", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

But this unfolded in the context of what appears to be presidential ambivalence about the Russian Federation threat. And the reason for that is because during the Cold War, the United States of America and USSR had channels of communication and they had set up boundaries, which they knew they couldn't go around.

Russia's ambassador to Lebanon said any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launching sites targeted - a stark warning of a potential major confrontation.

There was no word from Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, though his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Moscow was in contact with Washington to discuss an atmosphere which he described as alarming.

Since last year's strike, multiple chemical attacks have been reported in opposition areas, majority involving chlorine rather than the nerve agent sarin, as was used in 2017, suggesting the government may have adjusted its tactics.

Later, speaking at the meeting, called by Russian Federation to discuss the prospect of an American strike on Syria, Haley said, "This meeting should not be about so-called 'unilateral threats, ' it should be about the multiple actions Russian Federation has taken to bring us to this point".

The Russian Defense Ministry. the USA used Navy ships in the Red Sea, Air Force B-1B, F-15 and F-16 aircraft in the dawn attack.

"We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences".

French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that France has proof that the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks and that France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted".

A former Russian navy admiral upped the ongoing war of words between the United States and Russia.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin reaffirmed the Kremlin's skepticism about the allies' Douma claim, saying Russian military experts had found no trace of the attack.

United States blames Syria government for gas attack, mulls aggressive strike