Syrian regime, allies brace for possible U.S. attack

Theresa May

Velayati's comments, coming after a major victory for Damascus which Assad has said is the reason for Western threats, threw down the gauntlet to Trump, who recently said he wanted US troops out of Syria relatively soon.

"We're maintaining that we have a number of options, and all of those options are still on the table".

"Our position is perfectly clear and defined".

Mr Connable warned that if the United States accidentally or purposefully kills uniformed Russian soldiers, there would potentially be a risky escalation between the two nuclear powers.

The United States on Friday blamed the Syrian government for a deadly chemical weapons attack this month and slammed Russian Federation for failing to stop its ally, President Bashar al-Assad, as Western allies considered military strikes on Syria.

"Today a significant event in the history of Syria took place", Major General Yury Yevtushenko, head of the Russian military's centre for reconciliation in Syria, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!" said Trump in his latest early morning tweet.

Trump's message came roughly 24 hours after he warned on Twitter that US airstrikes "will be coming", despite a pledge from Russian Federation to shoot down American missiles aimed at its ally Syria.

Trump on Wednesday had warned Russian Federation to "get ready" for a missile attack on its ally Syria. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

Asked if his country will intervene in the growing Middle Eastern crisis, he said, "If our alliance with our partners demands it, we will be present".

Russian Federation has told the United States and its allies not to carry out any military strike.

Mr Trump and Western allies are considering military action to punish al-Assad for the reported poison gas assault on Saturday in the town of Douma, which had long had held out against a government siege.

"France will not allow any escalation that could harm the stability of the region as a whole but we can't let regimes that think they can do everything they want, including the worst things that violate global law, to act", Macron said.

But she said she was "appalled" but "not surprised" by Russia's decision to veto a joint investigation into the chemical attack at the United Nations.

Britain has been launching air strikes in Syria from its military base in Cyprus, but only against targets linked to the Islamic State militant group.

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Trump said the USA will respond to the Saturday attack within 48 hours at most, but a possible military move has been slowed down as the White House seeks to coordinate it with its allies, including France and the United Kingdom.

Bouthaina Shabaan, the political and media adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, said on Wednesday that her country is not fearing the U.S. threats of striking Syria.

Macron has insisted he does "not want an escalation" and that any response would focus on Syria's chemical capabilities, not on allies of the regime.

Macron said Thursday that France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted".

It also said the Syrian government flag was flying on Thursday in the town, which signalled that the regime was back in control of Ghouta although its forces have not yet entered Douma.

Airlines have been warned to be extra cautious in light of possible US-led military action in the eastern Mediterranean in the next 72 hours.

Meanwhile, Bouthaina Shabaan, the political and media adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, said Wednesday that her country is not fearing the USA threats of striking Syria.

Moscow has also warned the West of 'dire consequences' if it attacks Syria on the pretext of responding to the alleged chemical attack.

Syrian opposition activists and medics say a suspected gas attack last week in Douma killed more than 40 people.

The Syrian government condemned Trump's statement and reiterated its accusation that the USA sponsors terrorism.

She suggested that clarity about United States objectives was necessary to determine the appropriate targets for military action, even as Trump has said he wants USA forces to leave Syria within six months.

Russia, she alleged, holds some responsibility in the fact that they had guaranteed that Syria wouldn't use chemical weapons again, which they did.

"The continued use of chemical weapons can not go unchallenged".

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