Russian Federation warns of 'consequences' after United States attack on Syria

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The US' keenness to strike stemmed from its charge that the Syrian government had attacked a rebel-held enclave within the country with chemical weapons, killing about 50 people, and the West says it draws the line at chemical weapons, whose use is banned in worldwide law.

At stake in Syria is the potential for confrontation, if not outright conflict, between the US and Russian Federation, former Cold War foes whose relations have deteriorated in recent years over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and, most recently, its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Earlier this month Mr Trump reportedly told Pentagon officials that he wanted to end the USA involvement in Syria. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said the United Kingdom and France had joined in the attack.

Friday's strikes appear to signal Trump's willingness to draw the United States more deeply into the Syrian conflict.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the operation did not target Syria's allies or civilians but President Bashar Assad's government because of its alleged use of chemical weapons.

"Our President has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria", Haley said. "They are crimes of a monster instead".

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"We have absorbed the strike", the official told Reuters.

It said earlier that the attacks targeted a scientific research centre in Barzeh, near Damascus, and an army depot near Homs. The medics said none of the patients were hurt by chemicals.

"Tonight, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure..."

"Insulting the President of Russian Federation is unacceptable and inadmissible", he added. The US and its allies, Nebenzia alleged, are setting the stage to "unleash a military scenario against Syria".

"To Iran and to Russian Federation, I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?"

British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said the United Kingdom and France had joined in the attack. She described it as a "limited and targeted strike" aimed at minimizing civilian casualties.

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Dana W. White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman, said to her knowledge no one in the Defense Department communicated with Moscow in advance, other than the acknowledged use of a military-to-military hotline that has routinely helped minimise the risk of US-Russian collisions or confrontations in Syrian airspace.

It was not immediately clear how extensive the strikes were.

Syrian air defenses shot down 13 missiles fired in the US -led attack on the country on Saturday, Syrian state TV said.

Mr Trump has since tempered his remarks on attacking Syria and even as he consulted allies Britain and France, there were signs of efforts to prevent the crisis from spiralling out of control.

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 risky moment.

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