Syrian government forces take control of Douma, say Russian news agencies
13 April, 2018, 01:35 | Author: Dustin Murphy
President Donald Trumpwarned Russia Wednesday to "get ready" for a missile attack on its ally Syria. Russian Federation needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together.
May recalled the ministers from their Easter holiday for the meeting at 3.30 pm (1430 GMT) in Downing Street to discuss Britain's response to what she has cast as a barbaric attack that can not go unchallenged.
At stake in Syria is the potential for confrontation, if not outright conflict, between the USA and Russian Federation, former Cold War foes whose relations have deteriorated in recent years over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 US presidential election and, most recently, its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Assadsaid that the threats by Western countries against Syria were "on the basis of lies they have fabricated", denying any responsibility for the suspected chemical attack.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as well as Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo met at the White House on Wednesday to discuss options, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. Russian Federation later in the week vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have allowed for an investigation into the chemical attacks and would have subsequently held Syria responsible for the attacks.
Moscow and Washington have so far vetoed each other's motions to set up an global investigation into chemical weapons use.
A Syrian military officer on the edge of eastern Ghouta said the evacuation of rebels from Douma was supposed to end on Thursday.
With Russian military assistance, al-Assad launched a military offensive on Eastern Ghouta, which had been under rebel control since mid-2013.
Wednesday's turmoil in Douma came during the evacuation of the latest batch of civilians and rebels after pro-government supporters attempted to raise government flags over buildings and chanted in support of Assad.
Media captionThe US president has said "nothing's off the table" - so what options are on the table?
It certainly won't make any immediate difference to the civil population of Syria, who have suffered so much at the hands of their own government, and the multitude of rebel, terrorist and guerrilla groups, some of whom have intimidated, as much as they have represented, them.
Trump's national security team has met to discuss the USA response to the Syrian government's apparent use of chemical weapons on its own people.
But while the Russian president's lieutenants continued to up the ante with threats and allegations, Vladimir Putin himself adopted a more statesmanlike tone, in remarks to new ambassadors presenting their credentials at the Kremlin.
Syria's attempt to shelter aircraft, perhaps by locating them alongside Russian military hardware that Washington might be reluctant to hit, could limit damage that the U.S. and its allies might be able to inflict on Mr Assad's military.
Trump slammed Russian Federation on April 11 for its military alliance with Assad, saying it should not "be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it".
Trump changed his tone in another tweet that was posted some 40 minutes later, calling for a better relationship with Russian Federation.
Zasypkin also said that any hostilities with Washington should be avoided and Moscow was ready for negotiations.
Russia, at least in its public pronouncements, is also more determined not to back down.
At least 40 people and possibly as many as 70 people are reported dead in Douma, and it was reported that numerous people were "choking and foaming at the mouth".
Separately on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Berlin would not join any military strikes against Syria, but supports efforts to show the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.
British Minister Davis said his decision then to vote against action was based on a lack of clear evidence and no clear plan.
Meanwhile, James Mattis, the Pentagon chief, has called for an American investigation into the suspected attack. The government offensive to recapture eastern Ghouta began in February and killed around 1,700 people.
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Then, within days the USA military fired cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield where the sarin attack had been launched from. France accused Russian Federation of having a hand in the attack on Douma that drew global outrage.
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Young: US needs 'swift, measured, strong' response to Syria
He tweeted: "Our relationship with Russian Federation is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War ". Its argument that a one-off military strike is enough to deter Assad from using chemical weapons again is clearly untrue.