Putin unlikely to let Syria strike go unanswered

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The White House said it was continuing to assess intelligence and talk to its allies about how to respond. British officials said up to 75 people were killed. The British government "agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime", the statement said, without committing to any form of military involvement.

Kosachev reiterated the view of other lawmakers that the attack's intent was to interfere with global investigators who want to probe whether a chemical weapons attack took place in the town of Douma last week. "The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", he told reporters. Both Syria and Russian Federation have denied involvement in the attack, and Russian Federation claimed on Friday that the event was "staged" by the United Kingdom.

Russian Federation on Saturday called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council as Moscow said it would consider supplying S-300 missile systems to Syria following USA -led strikes.

"It's.highly likely an attempt to create complications for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission which was just starting its work in Syria's Douma, or an attempt to completely derail it", Interfax quoted Kosachev as saying.

He cited the Palestinian-Israeli divide, the Sunni-Shiite divide "evident from the Gulf to the Mediterranean", and other divisive factors reflected in a multiplicity of conflicts.

Over the past week, pro-Kremlin officials, independent analysts and the state-allied news media here all described the situation in Syria as a uniquely unsafe moment.

The Elysee palace said in a statement that Macron had also expressed regret about Russia's use of its Security Council veto on the attack. He also slammed Washington for putting worldwide peace at risk. Moscow warned against any strikes and threatened to retaliate.

A statement after the cabinet meeting was limited, saying that Britain believes the use of chemical weapons should not go "unchallenged".

At a Pentagon briefing, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said the targets included a Syrian research facility and a chemical weapons storage facility.

Without elaborating on the sources of her information, Haley said the American government had estimated that the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria have used chemical weapons "at least 50 times" since the war started.

The strikes were the biggest intervention by Western powers against Assad in the country's seven-year-old civil war and pitted the United States and its allies against Russian Federation, which itself intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad. It was not clear when the visit would take place.

In a televised address from the White House, Trump said he had ordered USA armed forces to launch "precision strikes" associated with Assad's chemical weapons capabilities.

Nebenzia was echoing Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who said in a Friday news conference that Russia has "irrefutable evidence" the alleged chemical attack in Syria was "staged".

A man walks with his bicycle at a damaged site in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria March 30, 2018.

"Smart missiles should be fired at terrorists and not at the legitimate government which has been fighting terrorists", Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

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She added that "with our allies, we ensured that the Russians were warned ahead of time". "We're still working on this".

The Trump administration did not lay the blame only at the feet of Syria's leader.

Asked what chemicals were used in the weekend attack, Mattis confirmed that chlorine gas had been used and did not rule out the nerve agent sarin.

Saturday's calibrated response in Moscow to the US airstrike against a key Middle Eastern ally illustrated in stark terms the Kremlin's balancing act as it pushes to expand its influence overseas but seeks to maintain control over how far tensions rise.

In Damascus, the president's seat of power, hundreds of residents gathered in Omayyad Square, many waving Syrian, Russian and Iranian flags.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said the strikes were a "one-time shot" and that no additional airstrikes were now planned. We are totally predictable. From a distance, US missiles hitting suburbs of the capital sounded like thunder.

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