Don's mission accomplished! Syria intercepted missiles, scoffs Russian Federation

AFPSergei Lavrov says Russia has proof that actors staged the alleged chemical attack in Syria

Trump had also said last week that Putin bore responsibility for the "atrocity" in Douma because of his support for the Syrian government.

Russia's denial that the Assad government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack, further angered Trump, one of the USA officials said.

In a statement, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia supported the strikes, which sent "an unequivocal message to the Assad regime and its backers, Russian Federation and Iran, that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated".

But both Dunford and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis stressed that strikes were not meant to pull America deeper into Syria's war.

The UK has placed the blame for the Skripal poisoning firmly at Russian feet, saying it's the only country with the means, motive, and technical ability to carry out the attack on UK soil.

The joint operation came one week after a suspected chemical attack outside Damascus left more than 40 people dead.

Senior EU officials said today evidence clearly pointed to the Syrian regime in investigations over a gas attack on the town of Douma, which killed dozens of people on April 7. "Hopefully someday we'll get along with Russian Federation and maybe even Iran, but maybe not", Trump said.

Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are expected to arrive in Syria over the weekend to investigate the reported attack, following an invitation from Damascus.

Since Saturday, when images of ashen toddlers struggling for breath emerged, there has been a sustained military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean.

The US accused the Syrian government on Friday of using banned chemical arms at least 50 times since Syria's civil war began seven years ago - far higher than the number of attacks that had been publicly confirmed.

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", Moscow's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday. France said Russian Federation was warned in advance of the strikes to avoid direct confrontation.

Russian Federation has been deeply enmeshed in Syria's civil war since 2015 and Washington and Moscow have already indirectly clashed in the country.

Syria has continued to deny any chemical weapons were used.

Mr Jaffer claimed that as Russian Federation is one of the five United Nations countries with a power of veto, the Security Council should be prepared for any further action against the Assad regime to be voted against by Vladimir Putin. U.S. lawmakers questioned whether Trump has the legal authority to order strikes without Congressional approval and opposition parties voiced concern. It also said Russian officers found no patients with chemical attack symptoms at a local hospital, and no indication of any burials having taken place of the victims.

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