What You Need To Know About The Suspected Syrian Chemical Attack

What You Need To Know About The Suspected Syrian Chemical Attack

"It is a very, very delicate circumstance, and we've got to make this judgment on a very careful, very deliberate, very well thought-through basis, knowing exactly ... how strong the evidence is", Brexit Secretary David Davis said ahead of Thursday's cabinet.

Russia, the Syrian government's most important ally in its seven-year-old war with rebels, said it had deployed military police in Douma on Thursday after the town was taken over by government forces.

Syria has formally invited investigators from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) who would visit Douma "very soon", Aala told reporters. But the question on a strategic level, he said, "is how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that". Some 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired at an airfield that was a base for Syrian fighter jets, radar equipment and air defense systems.

Russian officials have also threatened to counter-attack the US if missiles fly over Syria, potentially by attacking US Navy ships or submarines.

Anything is possible when the missiles start flying, but the US and Russian Federation have a system for avoiding this scenario - it's known as the deconfliction hotline.

At a congressional hearing on the Pentagon's 2019 budget request, defence secretary Jim Mattis declined to discuss military plans but said legislative leaders would be notified before any attack was undertaken.

Forces loyal to President Bashar Assad hold more of Syria and the opposition forces have lost several bitterly contested cities since then, while the Turkish offensive into Afrin has exposed the contradictions in the U.S. alliance system.

Trump posted a tweet on Wednesday warning Russian Federation to "get ready" because missiles "will be coming" to Syria.

France says it will decide "in the coming days" on its response, in conjunction with Washington and London.

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.

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Assad's troops reportedly raised their flag on Thursday morning over Douma, the territory against which Assad stands accused of using chemical weapons.

The recent attack on Douma came after months of warnings that the "de-escalation zone" status of Eastern Ghouta had become "a farce", as State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in February, when the US accused Russian Federation and Syria of carrying out attacks on civilians, targeting medical facilities, and using siege tactics.

He did not explain what the evidence was, and said that he was still deciding whether France would participate in any attack, which would not require parliamentary approval. "Just more Fake News from a biased newspaper!" tweeted Trump.

Earlier, various official Russian agencies repeatedly warned that preparations had been underway in different parts of Syria for provocations and simulations of chemical attacks that would be blamed on government forces. 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.

Medical workers treating toddlers following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, April.

In terms of destroying the means for Assad to carry out chemical weapons attacks, chlorine gas is the main weapon used since the deal to remove most of the regime's nerve agent stocks. Trump has largely avoided criticising Russian President Vladimir Putin by name, though he singled him out in a tweet over the weekend for supporting Assad.

Statements from Washington have been militaristic, and threats by the United States and France were a violation of the U.N. charter, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Since Trump's warning, the Syrian military has moved assets around in an attempt to shield them from USA missiles, possibly by putting them under Russian protection.

At the UN Security Council, Moscow and Washington have so far vetoed each other's motions to set up an global investigation into chemical weapons use. The Syrian government has denied the allegations.

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