Trump weighs military options in Syria


The recent military victories Syrian army gained in Douma and elsewhere in Eastern Ghouta were the main reasons behind Trump's threat to attack Syria, al-Atrash said.

Syria and Russian Federation have blamed Israel for the attack, which has similarly been confirmed by the U.S. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied performing the operation.

Velayati supported Assad's stance, adding that threats by some Western countries to attack Syria are "based on lies after the liberation of Eastern Ghouta".

In the last few days, Trump has blamed the authoritarian Assad regime for the chemical attack that killed dozens of Syrian civilians, including children and women, in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

The drumbeat of military action appeared to grow louder, as Russian Federation stonewalled diplomatic efforts at the United Nations and France declared "proof" that Moscow's Syrian ally carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack that killed more than 40 Syrians.

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"We're living in 2018 and we have all sort of communication, including Twitter, and we can resolve all the questions like that - just picking up the phone, just sending messages - and I think this is the case which should be resolved through the communication but not through force", the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson said.

A French frigate, UK Royal Navy submarines laden with cruise missiles and the USS Donald Cook, an American destroyer equipped with Tomahawk land attack missiles have all moved into range of Syria's sun-bleached coast.

A top leader of Jaish al-Islam, a group which controlled Douma for years, told AFP it was Saturday's attack that forced them to accept a Russian-brokered deal and evacuate.

That may prove too little, too late.

Mr. Mattis said options would be discussed with Mr.Trump at a meeting of his National Security Council on Thursday afternoon.

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The council has already failed to agree on a response to the attack in three votes and has been deadlocked throughout the Syrian civil war.

Iran, which has been operating militarily in Syria and backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, has threatened to respond to an Israeli airstrike on the T-4 airbase in Syria on Monday.

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he sees no legal justification for a US strike in Syria, absent explicit authorization by Congress. Sarah Sanders said the Trump administration will follow whatever laws and regulations were necessary for any actions that it takes.

National security experts anxious about whether strikes would actually serve to deter Assad.

Referring to the allegation of a Russian military official that there was an attack but it was staged by the White Helmets brigade component of the rebels in Syria, she said the intelligence provided "certainly paints" a different picture, and the President holds Syria and Russia responsible for the chemical weapons attack.

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The same officials say Syria has continued to produce or procure chlorine, which also has industrial and agricultural uses. On Wednesday he went even further, warning Russian Federation "to get ready" after Moscow vowed to shoot down any missiles fired at Syria. The fact-finding mission of the OPCW is to start their work in Douma on Saturday.