Trump dodges timing of Syria strike

Live Trump says missiles'will be coming to Syria after suspected gas attack                         Read more

President Trump warned the Kremlin on Wednesday not to retaliate against any U.S. strike on Syria in the aftermath of a deadly chemical weapons attack orchestrated by the Assad regime. "Could not have had a better result".

His choice of words recalled a similar claim associated with President George W. Bush following the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The U.S. has about 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria as advisers to a makeshift group of anti-Islamic State fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

"Whenever the Syrian army achieves victory in the field, some western countries rise their voices and intensify their movements in an attempt to change the track of events", Assad said, according to SANA.

Syrian opposition activists and rescuers said poison gas was used on the rebel-held town near the capital, an allegation strongly denied by the Assad government. While UK Prime Minister Mrs May isn't required to seek parliamentary approval, it's accepted that lawmakers will have a say before committing military forces.

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", Moscow's UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday.

"We have the proof that chemical weapons - at least chlorine gas - were used by Assad's regime", Macron told France's TF1 television. U.S. officials have been consulting with France, Britain and other allies on a possible joint military operation, but the timing remained in doubt Wednesday. The French president said he would decide soon whether to back a military response.

The question now becomes what the United States, probably with France and Britain, will hit in war-torn Syria, and what are the risks of escalation and miscalculation with Assad allies Russia and Iran.

France's President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that his soldiers will target Syrian chemical factories.

Trump's taunt was the first explicit U.S. statement that a military response is in the offing, and it marked a turnabout for a president who ridiculed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for allegedly telegraphing military strategy.

"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.

The US Navy launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean, targeting Shayrat air base, its aircraft, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems and radars.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the attack "necessary and appropriate".

That did not mean military strikes would continue.

Mattis said that Friday's attack used "double the amount of weapons" compared to the April 2017 strike.

Video circulated of the Syrian response.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as well as CIA director Mike Pompeo met at the White House on Wednesday to discuss options, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

Syria, which denies carrying out the latest attack, said it had invited the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has blamed the regime for previous such incidents, to visit Douma. "I suspect, however they'll think long and hard about it". Where does it end?

Those comments go further than US officials have been willing to in public. "If you weaken Assad, the other side is militias and you turn this into a militia situation", said Kamran Bokhari, senior fellow with the Center for Global Policy in Washington.

But Damascus allies confirmed that precautionary measures were being taken throughout Syria.

On the one hand, the tweet could be put down to Trump's unique and unconventional way of communicating, which infuriates the Washington establishment and delights his supporters. He said the U.S. knew of no civilians killed by allied missiles. In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned. British officials said up to 75 people were killed.

Unlike the Vietnam War, where Soviet advisers helping North Vietnam supposedly weren't directly engaged in combat, the potential clash in Syria would pit Russia directly against the U.S.

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