Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

USA to respond to alleged chemical attack in Syria

USA to respond to alleged chemical attack in Syria

A World Health Organization statement Wednesday did not confirm outright that a chemical weapons attack had taken place.

Trump, asked at midday whether Russian President Vladimir Putin bore any responsibility for the weekend attack, responded: "He may, yeah, he may".

On Monday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said he would not "rule out anything" as a response against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Rescue workers said dozens of civilians had been killed in a chlorine gas attack on Douma - claims denied by Assad's regime and its ally Russian Federation.

France said it will retaliate against the regime of the Syrian president if evidence emerges that it was behind the attack, a government spokesman said.

Nikki Haley addresses an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria at United Nations headquarters in New York, April 9, 2018.

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In a phone call Monday night, the two leaders again discussed the latest chemical attack in Syria.

That attack prompted the USA to launch several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base. A joint task force the group took part in with the United Nations did have such a mandate, but Russian Federation blocked its renewal past year after it blamed the Syrian government for another attack.

"We stand ready to provide military options if they are appropriate as the President determined", Mattis said.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria".

Options include limited military strikes, such as the Tomahawk missiles launched from a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Mediterranean targeting a Syrian airstrip nearly exactly a year ago after an alleged chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib that killed more than 100 people.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin would submit a resolution to the U.N. Security Council proposing that the OPCW investigate the alleged attack.

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Since Saturday's incident, Washington has been in discussion with Britain and France, raising the prospect of co-ordinated Western military action.

Russian Federation and the United States tangled on Tuesday at the United Nations over the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria as Washington and its allies considered whether to strike at President Bashar al-Assad's forces over a suspected poison gas attack last weekend. A British government statement said the two agreed the attack in Syria was "utterly reprehensible" and that the global community must respond "to uphold the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons".

President says all options are on the table as he weighs US retaliation for suspected gas attack in Syria; Kristin Fisher reports from Washington.

The attack in Douma comes nearly exactly a year after a chemical atrocity in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun killed dozens of people.

Meanwhile, evacuations continued in Douma as opposition factions agreed to surrender after it was hit by the chemical attack.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Syrian government troops were on a 72-hour alert and were fortifying their positions.

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