Trump seeks to build alliance to strike Syria


U.S. President Donald Trump has taunted Moscow to "get ready" for "nice and new and "smart" missiles coming to punish Syria for a purported chemical attack on Saturday that killed at least 40 people.

President Donald Trump continued to weigh his options Thursday for responding to a chemical gas attack in Syria as his aides warned a miscalculated response could spark a dramatic escalation between the United States, Russia and Iran.

Assad is not going to be forced out of office.

On Tuesday the UN Security Council failed to approve moves to set up an inquiry into the alleged attack on Douma.

Any US strike would nearly certainly involve the navy, given the risk to aircraft from Russian and Syrian air defences.

On the one hand, the tweet could be put down to Trump's unique and unconventional way of communicating, which infuriates the Washington establishment and delights his supporters. "It is such a great Military term, it should be brought back", he wrote.

The Syrian-American Medical Society (Sams), which operates in rebel-held areas, and local aid workers said more than 500 people had been treated for symptoms "indicative of exposure to a chemical agent".

More than 2,000 USA troops are in Syria.

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Mr Bush addressed sailors aboard a Navy ship in May 2003 alongside a "Mission Accomplished" banner, just weeks before it became apparent that Iraqis had organised an insurgency that tied down U.S. forces for years.

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss support for USA action against the Syrian regime.

"Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path, or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace", Trump said.

The White House said he was planning to speak with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday evening. "We convinced him to remain".

"A final decision hasn't been made", spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, adding that the president also "has not laid out a timetable".

Last year, the USA military formally notified Russian Federation over a hotline shortly before 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles struck the Shayrat air base.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria". The Pentagon said it gave no explicit warning. The Cabinet agreed on the need to "take action" to deter further chemical weapons use by Assad, but added that May would continue to consult with allies to coordinate an global response.

President Bashar al-Assad's government - which receives military backing from Russian Federation - denies being behind any chemical attack.

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Both Syria's Red Crescent and Russia's Defense Ministry have been in Douma already, saying they found no evidence of chemical weapons use. The U.N. Security Council rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the three Western allies.

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

"Good souls will not be humiliated", Assad tweeted, while hundreds of Syrians gathered in Damascus, the capital, where they flashed victory signs and waved flags in scenes of defiance after the early morning barrage.

But the pinpoint strike did not deter Assad and USA officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have since investigated as many as 10 suspected chemical attacks.

One of the officials noted that Syria and Russian Federation relocated their equipment and personnel a year ago - the first and only other time Mr Trump ordered missile strikes on Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack.

A global chemical warfare watchdog group, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said its fact-finding mission would go as planned in Douma.

The Kremlin says a hotline between USA and Russian military officials is in use and Russian media say it's expected the Americans will provide coordinates of planned targets.

The deepening legal mire facing the President and the apparently looming military strike in Syria converged in Monday's stunning rant about his legal plight before a room full of top military brass.

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She said that USA officials are "continuing to assess intelligence" and are "engaged in conversations with our partners and allies".