Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Russia's US ambassador says there will be consequences for Syria airstrikes

Russia's US ambassador says there will be consequences for Syria airstrikes

The Syrian government, Iran, and Russian Federation have vocally denied involvement in Saturday's attack, and accused rebels in Douma of fabricating the chemical assault, describing the manoeuvres as "propaganda" and a "hoax" to sabotage the deal to end fighting in Douma and evacuate civilians as well as Jaish Al-Islam rebels and their families. Russia's ambassador to Lebanon said any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launching sites targeted - a stark warning of a potential major confrontation. "Could not have had a better result".

Asked about the risks of USA military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties.

Moscow's relations with the West has been sour over years amid disagreements involving the war in Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, and also the alleged Kremlin meddling in the 2016 USA presidential elections, which Moscow has denied.

Russia's UN ambassador said yesterday that the priority in Syria was to avert US-led military strikes that could lead to a risky war between Russian Federation and the United States. The U.N. Security Council planned to meet later Saturday at Moscow's request.

US President Donald Trump muddied his own threats that air strikes were "coming" in Syria, saying on Thursday that an attack "could be very soon or not so soon at all".

On the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma where an estimated 70 people died, he said Russian security services "did not find any traces of chemical substances".

If the United States opts for a broader attack, it may choose to conduct initial precision strikes to debilitate ground air defenses.

Trump and other Western leaders have vowed a quick and forceful response to Saturday's alleged gas attack, which rescue workers say killed more than 40 people. Syria has denied carrying out such an attack.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation representatives planned a special session to hear from U.S., British and French officials.

"We are open for those contacts, they help to understand each other better", Lavrov said.

The head of the Russian military's General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, warned last month that a USA strike would threaten Russian military personnel in Syria and draw a Russian counterstrike against both US missiles and the ships and aircraft launching them. That did not mean military strikes would continue; in fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were now planned.

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It was not clear whether Trump and U.S. allies would wait for the results of the investigation before deciding on a strike.

"If there are problems, they must be solved at the negotiating table", she said.

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

The proposed measures are in retaliation for the White House last week imposing the toughest set of sanctions on Russiasince Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region, which dragged relations to their lowest point since the Cold War. U.S. officials noted that Washington was still assessing intelligence and coordinating allies. But US intelligence agencies have not completed their assessment or reached a final conclusion, the officials said. On Tuesday, Macron said any French action would target Syria's chemical weapons abilities.

Defense officials from the countries involved in the attack gave differing accounts of how much warning was given to the Russians, Syria's powerful ally.

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he sees no legal justification for a USA strike in Syria, absent explicit authorization by Congress.

"We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies". It was not clear when the visit would take place. The way out was often not safe as militants shelled civilian areas to prevent them from leaving the war-ravaged enclave. "It is not about regime change".

Sanders said Trump would speak later with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The decision to strike, after days of deliberations, marked Trump's second order to attack Syria. Initial reports indicated the use of chlorine gas, possibly in addition to the nerve agent Sarin. Mr. Trump called out Putin along with the leadership in Iran for backing Assad, who he referred to as "Animal Assad".

White, the Defense Department spokeswoman, said the strikes did not "represent a change in US policy or an attempt to depose the Syrian regime".

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