May calls Cabinet meeting as UK, US closer to Syria strikes

Russia's UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya

Even after global inspections and a US air strike in 2017, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is being accused of using chemical weapons to attack civilians in Douma, Syria, on April 7.

At least 40 people were killed and nearly 500 treated for symptoms arising from the poisonous gas attack. Syria has denied using chemical weapons.

But President Bashar al-Assad's government - which receives military backing from Russian Federation - denies being behind any chemical attack. Trump he said at the time.

Russian officials in recent days had warned of the possibility of a direct military confrontation with the United States as a result of a USA strike.

One way to ensure Al Assad can not use such weapons is to conduct strikes on his chemical infrastructure, including by targeting factories and weapons holding areas.

Trump tweet comes a day after he threatened both Russian Federation and Syria over Twitter insisting that US missiles are coming.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on April 12 said he personally believed an "inexcusable" use of chemical weapons had taken place in Syria.

The recapture of Douma, in the region of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus, effectively represents the end of the war between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the rebel groups opposing his rule.

The US National Security Council is to meet on Thursday, while UK PM Theresa May has called a cabinet meeting.

The Kremlin has called on all parties involved in Syria to refrain from actions that could destabilize the region.

Mrs May is still yet to unequivocally point the finger of blame at the Assad government but she has spoken of the need for action "if" the regime is found to bear responsibility.

Russia's military has propped up Assad's regime as it wages a multiway war against both the so-called Islamic State and various antigovernment forces. This is in contrast to an incident one year ago in which the U.S. government had video and other evidence of certain aspects of an actual attack by Syrian aircraft, which involved the use of sarin gas. "They failed at that".

The ruble bounced back from the lowest level since 2016 and bonds climbed as rising oil prices outweighed USA and Russian brinkmanship in Syria.

FILE - A general view shows the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman at an undisclosed position in the Mediterranean Sea.

US Navy sailors load a Tomahawk cruise missile into a submarine.

The World Health Organization said more than 70 people taking shelter in basements reportedly died in the attack, with 43 of those deaths related to exposure to toxic chemicals. Besides, aid agencies deployed by United Nations in Syria are unable to access eastern Ghouta. "Final decisions haven't been made yet", press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Trump has consulted with U.S. allies, particularly France and the United Kingdom, about a coordinated response to the suspected chemical attack, but officials say they have not reached a firm agreement on scale or timing. "We are rapidly reaching an understanding of what happened on the ground", she added.

"Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legal government that has been fighting worldwide terrorism for several years on its territory", Zakharova wrote in response to Trump's Wednesday tweet.

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 United States and its allies might be able to inflict on Assad's military.


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