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West weighs Syria attack that could lead to confrontation with Russian Federation

Alexander Zasypkin

Trump responded to his comment with the early morning tweet.

US President Donald Trump, who said on Wednesday that missiles were "coming", has now tweeted that he "never said when".

Later Thursday he was noncommittal.

It has described the reports of the chemical attack as a "provocation" created to justify Western intervention against its ally.

Trump did not detail what a strike on Syria would look like, or whether these would be USA missiles.

President Trump has issued another stern warning to Russian Federation for its alleged role in a suspected chemical attack in Syria over the weekend.

"It's clear that the goal of these unsubstantiated lies ... is to discredit the Syrian government and to justify the use of force by external actors".

At the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, draft resolutions were proposed both by Russian Federation and U.S., to set up a new expert body to probe chemical weapons attacks in Syria, but eventually failed to pass. Turkey is a USA ally despite considering certain Kurdish groups in the region to be terrorists while the US has backed those groups as a fighting force against ISIS.

White Helmets first-responders and Syrian activists have claimed the suspected chemical attack was carried out by the Syrian government on April 7 and killed more than 40 people in Douma, allegations that drew worldwide outrage and prompted Washington and its allies to consider a military response. Initial reports indicated the use of chlorine gas, possibly in addition to the nerve agent Sarin. USA officials have been consulting with France, Britain and other allies on a possible joint military operation, but the timing remained in doubt Wednesday.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, striking a cautious tone after Trump's threat of missile strikes, said on Wednesday the United States was still assessing intelligence about the suspected toxic gas attack.

In a bid to avoid an escalation, Sweden proposed a Security Council resolution on Thursday, seen by Reuters, that would ask Guterres to send a high-level disarmament team to Syria to address "all outstanding issues on the use of chemical weapons once and for all".

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

"America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria under no circumstances", Trump said re-litigating his plan, adding, "As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home".

Kuwait's national carrier says it is suspending flights to Lebanon in line with security warnings from airline authorities concerning a possible strike on neighboring Syria.

A broader attack could also target command and control nodes, munitions storage sites, or Assad's helicopter fleet, which has been used to deliver barrel bombs and other munitions.

The ambassador said the United States knows that Russian troops are on the ground in Syria and that he hoped for "dialogue through appropriate channels on this to avert any risky developments".

Mr Putin said Russian Federation would "keep all its worldwide obligations in full".

"On Friday at 9 p.m. EDT, military forces from the US, UK, and France launched a military campaign in Syria, targeting the country's research facilities that were believed to have been involved in the development of chemical weapons".

After the USA warmongering rhetoric against Syria and its allies, Russian Federation warned the United States against striking Syria.

"Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'" Mr Trump said in an early morning tweet on Wednesday.

At the House hearing, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, disputed Trump's legal authority to act without congressional authority and suggested a USA strike would lead to war with Russian Federation.

"I'm not ready to speculate that that would happen", Mattis said, referring to the prospect of open conflict with Russian Federation.