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Trump Promises Decision on Military Action Against Syria in Next Two Days

14 Апреля 2018

Backed by his hawkish new national security adviser John Bolton, who took office on Monday, Trump has been meeting with advisers and generals all week to plan.

The US Navy has already moved its destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, to the Mediterranean Sea, where its Tomahawks would be within striking distance from Syria.

Complicating any US response is the presence of Russian and Iranian forces on the ground in Syria.

Following an emergency UN Security Council meeting, Russia's ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia urged western allies not to take military action against Syria, and said he "cannot exclude" war between the U.S. and Russian Federation.

Russian Federation has been a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and has helped turn the tide of war in his favor since entering the conflict in September 2015.

At a congressional hearing in Washington, defence secretary General James Mattis also signalled caution, saying the the president had not yet decided whether military force would be part of the United States response in Syria.

Trump said that the "massacre" last weekend in Syria "was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very awful regime".

The US State Department said the United States has proof at "a very high level of confidence" that the Syrian government carried out the attack but is still working to identify the mix of chemicals used.

But Mattis also has noted the risk of military action and said the USA should continue its policy not to be involved directly in Syria's civil war.

"Our strategy remains the same as a year ago: To drive this to a UN-brokered peace".

The U.S., France and Britain were in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as the end of this week, U.S. officials have said. That strike did not appear to have had the desired effect of deterring Assad from further use of chemical agents.

As fears of a Russia confrontation with Western powers mount, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his "deep concerns" over the situation in Syria in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Mr Macron said France had "proof" that the chemical attack on the Eastern Ghouta city of Douma took place last week.

Yet it seems some in the Trump Administration want to make absolutely sure before taking military action.and also want to develop a strategy for a number of scenarios, including a potential military response from Russian Federation.

Following a two-hour emergency cabinet meeting, Downing Street said ministers had agreed it was "highly likely" Assad was responsible for the attack on Saturday on the rebel-held town of Douma which reportedly left dozens dead. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that images of victims of the purported attack were staged with "Britain's direct involvement, " without providing evidence.

Two groups of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will arrive in Syria on Thursday and Friday, Syria's Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said.

On Saturday morning, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said that French fighter jets took off from multiple bases in France for the strike.

At a House hearing, Democrats grilled Mattis on the wisdom and legality of Trump ordering an attack on Syria without explicit authorization from Congress. Mattis argued it would be justified as an act of self-defense, with 2,000 US ground troops in Syria; he insisted he could not talk about military plans because an attack "is not yet in the offing".

He said he has seen refugees from Asia to Europe, Kosovo to Africa but has never seen refugees as "traumatised as coming out of Syria". More broadly, he doubted the wisdom of bombing. "So we'll be looking at that barbaric act and studying what's going on".

Any strike on Syria, Russia's ally, runs the risk triggering a massive Russian response that could lead to war between the world's biggest nuclear powers.

Moscow's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday that the "immediate priority is to avert the danger of war".

In a thinly veiled swipe at Russia, Mattis also said there would be a briefing at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday morning with more details to address the possible misinformation campaign that will be waged by Syria and its allies.

In the war of words, he even went as far as saying the United States relationship with Russian Federation was "worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War". "I hope no one would dare to launch such an adventure now", Lavrov said.

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Trump Promises Decision on Military Action Against Syria in Next Two Days