Speculation rife over Syria strike

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However, Mr McKenzie acknowledged elements of Syria's chemical weapons program remain and he could not guarantee that Syria would be unable to conduct a chemical attack in the future.

"If it's Russian Federation, if it's Syria, if it's Iran, if it's all of them together, we'll figure it out and we'll know the answers quite soon", he pledged Monday.

President Donald Trump has emerged from a meeting with his national security team without a "final decision" on how to respond to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

"The line is used and it is active". He added it would have an "utterly destructive impact on the Syrian settlement".

Damascus has denied responsibility for the incident that has widened a rift between the West and Moscow, which backs Syria's Government.

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His latest tweet, on Thursday evening, said: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

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.

In Paris, France's Emmanuel Macron upped the pressure on Moscow by stating he had "proof" that the Assad's regime had used chemical weapons, and vowing a response "at a time of our choosing".

The comments appear to row back on President Donald Trump's earlier warning to Russian Federation that it should "get ready" for missile strikes in Syria. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded".

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British opposition lawmakers have called on May to give Parliament a vote before any military action.

Assad said Thursday that Western threats to strike Syria are based on "lies" and seek to undermine his forces' advances near Damascus.

His comments, made as he received Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were posted on the Syrian presidency's social media accounts.

The Syrian president added that the threats endanger global peace and security and that military action would only contribute to the "further destabilization" of the region.

The same officials say Syria has continued to produce or procure chlorine, which also has industrial and agricultural uses.

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"Whenever the Syrian army achieves victory in the field, some western countries rise their voices and intensify their movements in an attempt to change the track of events", Assad said, according to SANA.

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