Trump vows 'forceful' response after Syria attack

The US President branded the horror in a rebel-held Damascus suburb ¿sick¿ as he indicated he could respond with military action and blamed Vladimir Putin for backing the ¿animal Assad

Amid hurried diplomacy that signalled allied military strikes may be imminent, US President Donald Trump has said he will take swift action in retaliation to the alleged weekend chemical attack on civilians in Syria.

"From what we hear now, I am afraid they are looking for a military option, which is very, very risky", Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters following an emergency council meeting.

"We are quick to condemn chemical weapons in the Security Council, but then Russian Federation prevents any action, vetoing five resolutions on this issue alone", his USA counterpart Nikki Haley responded.

Syria on Tuesday invited the global chemical weapons watchdog to send a fact-finding mission to investigate the suspected poison gas attack in a rebel-held town over the weekend.

"It was an atrocious attack, it was disgusting, you don't see things like that - as bad as the news is round the world - you just don't see those images", Trump said.

Diplomats said that the resolution would likely be vetoed by Syrian ally Russian Federation.

Trump on Tuesday cancelled plans to travel to South America later this week, choosing to stay in the United States to manage the response to the events in Syria. "It was an atrocious attack", he said.

"Let us recall that our draft resolution to set up such a mechanism is in blue". The guided missile destroyer is armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, the weapon of choice in a USA attack one year ago on an airfield in Syria following an alleged sarin gas attack on civilians.

And any new action raise the risk of open conflict with Russian Federation which, like Iran, has deployed forces to defend Assad s regime.

"We have a lot of options, militarily", he said, with out giving specifics.

Russian representative Vassily Nebenzia said the incident in Douma was staged and that USA military action in response could have "grave repercussions".

He added, "Everybody's going to pay a price. He will. Everybody will", he warned.

Washington's main European allies stood by reports blaming Assad. France s President Emmanuel Macron has promised a "strong, joint response" and Britain has joined a growing chorus demanding action.

The US, France and United Kingdom have led global condemnation of the alleged attack, with the Syrian government and its Russian backers denying any responsibility.

The French envoy took the debate to another level later during the session.

A recent strike on a Syrian Air Base killed several soldiers from Iran.

The politician said the Syrian government was expecting a limited US strike, similar to the one on Shayrat air base past year, which came after an alleged chemical attack on a rebel-held town in northern Syria that killed dozens of people.

Access to the area, which has faced weeks of regime bombardment, is limited and there has been no way to independently verify the accounts.

"This is more about his use of chemical weapons than it is the outcome of the war", said Andrew Tabler, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Syrian regime forces have waged an assault since February 18 on Ghouta, that has killed more than 1 700 civilians and left Islamist rebels cornered in their last holdout of Douma, Ghouta's largest town.

"Armed force under mendacious pretext against Syria, where, at the request of the legitimate government of a country, Russian troops have been deployed, could lead to grave repercussions", Nebenzia said.

Following fraught negotiations and a regime bombing blitz, state media announced Sunday a deal was reached for Jaish al-Islam to leave Douma within 48 hours and release hostages.

The statement - which incorrectly put the date of the attack three days early on April 4 - came a day after prominent Israelis looked aghast at the attack on civilians in their northern neighbor, including Israel's co-chief rabbi, who said Jews have a "moral obligation" to help.