Syria chemical attack ‘staged’ with help of foreign secret service: Russia

White Helmets first-responders and Syrian activists have claimed the suspected chemical attack was carried out by the Syrian government on April 7 and killed more than 40 people in Douma, allegations that drew worldwide outrage and prompted Washington and its allies to consider a military response.

“It’s got to end”, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday. “We will report to Congress”.

“We stress the imperative need to preserve evidence, and call upon all relevant authorities to ensure no party tampers with suspected sites, objects, witnesses, or victims before independent monitors and investigators are able to access the area”, it said.

She said Trump was to confer with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May later in the day on the action to be taken against the Assad regime.

A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the U.S. in the lead, could send a message of global unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons.

Fears of confrontation between Russian Federation, the Syrian state’s key ally, and the West ran high after Mr Trump said missiles “will be coming” and lambasted Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Trump blames Assad for the attack.

Lawmakers quizzed Mattis on what he made of President Donald Trump’s muddled messaging over Syria.

“It’s too bad that the world puts us in a position like that”.

The back-and-forth came as global inspectors headed for Syria.

Ahmad al-Issa, 46, ruled out a USA airstrike, saying Trump has in the past threatened to wipe North Korea off the map, then ended up calling for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In response, Trump tweeted that America’s relationship with Russian Federation “is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War”.

Mr Putin and Mr Macron instructed their foreign and defence ministers to maintain close contact to “de-escalate the situation”, the Kremlin said.

The Trump administration, he said, has not yet made any decision to launch military attacks into Syria. “If he strikes Syria without our approval, what’s to stop him from bombing North Korea or Iran?”

Britain would work with United States and France to coordinate an global response, the statement said. “But if that response is going to include military force, the President of the United States should come to Congress and ask for authorization before military force is used”.

Senior officials, including the head of the military, said that U.S. missiles would be shot out of the sky and their launch sites targeted if Russian personnel would come under threat.

Trump’s latest comment came in a tweet after warning Russian Federation to “get ready” for a missile attack on its ally Syria. “We are continuing to asses intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies”, Sanders said. “He said earlier this week, we’ll tell you what we do after the fact”.

“In addition to domestic issues, Trump has concerns about the United States forces in eastern Syria; i.e. the bases on the border between Syria and Iraq which are believed to be home to 2 to 3 thousand troops. Obama needs Congressional approval”.

Later, a Downing Street spokesperson confirmed that Trump and May had agreed during a phone call to “keep working closely together on the global response” over Syria.

Erdogan also told reporters on Friday that tensions between the two countries over a suspected chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma now seem to have eased.

Then came the suspected chemical attack in Douma, followed by worldwide condemnation and threats of military action.

The Russian military on Friday said it had proof that an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta was staged on orders from London, a claim dismissed by Britain as “a blatant lie”.

“Of course it is”. The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, was circulated ahead of an emergency Security Council meeting.

The Syrian Civil War has pulled in the United States, Russia, Iran and nearly all of Syria’s neighbors.

Western powers have been increasingly categorical in laying responsibility with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad – and Moscow.

Haley has been a vocal critic of Russia’s actions in Syria.

Trump mulls very tough military response to Syria attack