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No "final decision" yet on Syria response, White House says

14 Avril 2018

Trump met with his national security team on the situation in Syria later in the day and "no final decision has been made", the White House said in a statement.

In a reference to the US, he said that it "it would only benefit those who are protected by the ocean and expect to sit there and engage in continuous efforts to stir up the region in order to advance their geopolitical goals".

Sanders said Trump would speak later with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Noting that inspectors from the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were due to visit the site shortly, it underlined the Damascus government's commitment that they will have full access and freedom of movement. Syria earned $5.5 billion from oil exports in the previous year before the war. "It is to drive this to a UN-brokered peace, but, at the same time, keep our foot on the neck of ISIS until we suffocate it", said the defense secretary.

On Wednesday, Trump had threatened to retaliate against the Russian-backed Syrian regime, posting on social media that "nice, new and "smart" missiles "will be coming".

So far, President Trump has not indicated whether his determination to punish Assad has led to him to reconsider his informal six-month timeline for withdrawing USA troops from northeast Syria.

Later Thursday he was noncommittal. CGTN's Nathan King reports from the White House.

Trump has slammed Russian Federation for its partnership with "Gas Killing Animal" Assad, spurring concerns that a US strike could lead to a conflict with Russian Federation, which has major military facilities at Tartus and Khmeimim and works cheek-by-jowl with Syria forces that could be targeted.

"I hope no one would dare to launch such an adventure now", Lavrov said. The Kremlin s ambassador to Beirut vowed that Russian forces would try to shoot down any USA missiles. The Syrian government said it would facilitate the mission's investigation, which was to begin Saturday.

Syria and its main ally Russian Federation deny a chemical attack took place.

"Cabinet agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime", Ms May's office said in a statement, adding that they would continue working with their allies to coordinate an "international response".

General Tom McInerney suspects any response to apparent chemical attacks in Syria may be on hold while the Trump administration tries to build a coalition for any action. The Russian military today said it had proof that an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Eastern Ghouta was staged on orders from London.

What has Trump said about the attack? The latest allegations against Assad raises the question of what Washington should do after another potential round of military action.

At a congressional hearing in Washington, defence secretary General James Mattis also signalled caution, saying the president had not yet decided whether military force would be part of the USA response in Syria.

Mattis said the United States during the Obama administration tried to deal with the chemical weapons when he was enlisting the Russians, who were complicit in the Assad regime retaining those weapons. France and the United States also backed down after the Syrian regime, in a deal between Russian Federation and America, agreed to eliminate its chemical weapons. "You simply have been looking for a pretext to justify the use of force against Syria". To be sure, having boots on the ground in Syria has no bearing on the ability of US air and naval assets to deliver their firepower.

What can possibly be achieved by more bombing?

McInerney says the region is also more complex as a result of the Obama administration pulling the US out of Iraq entirely and failing to honor the red line it set for chemical weapon use in Syria. Yet that advance warning may have allowed Syria to move much of its valuable hardware to Russian air bases.

Lavrov said Russian Federation expects OPCW team to quickly visit the site.