Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

President Trump puts off decision on Syria strikes

President Trump puts off decision on Syria strikes

US President Donald Trump on Thursday disclosed plans to hold meetings with his national security advisors in order weigh his military options in Syria.

Prior to the meeting, US Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley said that her country, the United Kingdom and France had conducted a separate analysis of the incident to arrive at the conclusion that Douma had suffered from a chemical attack.

Amid the tensions over Syria, there's another shakeup in President Trump's national security team.

"We're looking very, very seriously, very closely at that whole situation, and we'll see what happens, folks", he said Thursday, adding that a strike could happen "fairly soon".

"Germany will support all activities with the United Nations security council", she added.

Konashenkov said the suspected poison attack was staged April 7 to coincide with military action by Syrian government troops after the rebel group Jaish al-Islam shelled the capital of Damascus from April 3 to 6.

President Bashar al-Assad's government - which receives military backing from Russian Federation - denies any involvement and says reports of a chemical attack are "fabricated".

But Mattis said collecting evidence becomes more hard as time passes.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said Syria's use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.

Russian Federation has also been granted a request for the United Nations Security Council to meet today for fresh discussions on Syria.

"Our strategy remains the same as a year ago: To drive this to a UN-brokered peace". The statement said none of the patients had any symptoms of chemical poisoning.

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"We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Mr Trump's allied counterparts French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May have both thrown their countries' support behind any action taken against the Assad government. A sustained barrage might inflict substantial damage on Assad's air force, such as the Mi-8 Hip helicopters apparently responsible for the chlorine attacks last Saturday.

Under a 2013 US-Russia deal that averted US-led strikes, Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons stockpile and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) which bans the use of toxic gases in warfare.

Then came the suspected chemical attack in Douma, followed by global condemnation and threats of military action. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj.

He said that "intelligence agencies of a state that is now striving to spearhead a Russo-phobic campaign were involved in that fabrication".

Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are on their way to Syria to probe the alleged chlorine strike on the then rebel-held suburb of Douma, which took place almost a week ago. It was not clear whether the presence of the investigators could affect the timing of any USA military action.

In a public hearing on Thursday, Mattis told members of Congress that the USA is "not going to engage in the civil war itself", and it remains committed to the UN-backed negotiations in Geneva to end the war.

Any U.S. strike would probably involve the navy, given the risk to aircraft from Russian and Syrian air defences.

What can possibly be achieved by more bombing?

The US, France and Britain have been in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as the end of this week, US officials have said.

"Meanwhile, Iran has enough political and operational tools, both inside and outside the region, that all of which are taken into consideration by the United States officials, especially the military officials", concluded Tajik.

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