Syrian regime 'highly likely' to blame for chemical attack, United Kingdom says

Air traffic is avoiding Syria as shown in this screen grab Wednesday from Flightradar24

Air traffic is avoiding Syria as shown in this screen grab Wednesday from Flightradar24

"I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad", Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.

United States President Donald Trump has yet to make a final decision on a potential military strike on Syria in the wake of a suspected chemical attack that killed dozens of people.

Both Syria and Russian Federation have said reports of the attack were fabricated by rebels and rescue workers in the town and have accused the USA of seeking to use it as a pretext to attack the government.

President Trump on Friday announced that he has approved military strikes in Syria against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A statement from Downing Street said: 'The 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.

Nikki Haley told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by Russian Federation that should the USA and its allies decide to act in Syria it will be to defend "a bedrock global norm that benefits all nations" - the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.

Trump said the U.S.is prepared to "sustain" pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

The strikes were the biggest intervention by Western powers against President Bashar al-Assad in the country's seven-year-old civil war, which has pitted the USA and its allies against Russian Federation.

At least six loud explosions have been heard in Damascus and smoke was seen rising over the Syrian capital, a Reuters witness said.

Assad said any Western action "will contribute nothing but an increase in instability in the region, threatening worldwide peace and security", Syrian state TV reported.

The Jaish al-Islam group in Douma agreed on Sunday to withdraw, hours after a suspected chemical weapons attack on the town that has raised the prospect of United States strikes. Syrian television reported that a scientific research center had been hit.


On Monday, he said he would "be making some major decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours".

While inspectors with the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons collect soil, biomedical and other environmental samples to determine whether chemicals were used in the attack, the organization will not decide who is responsible.

"We hope that. the USA and their allies will refrain from military action against a sovereign state", said Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vassily Nebenzia. His tweets indicate that he has, indeed, made a decision to strike Syria.

President Trump's order to strike Syria Friday night was as predictable as his Saturday morning tweet storms.

He said military strikes in Syria are "directed at the Syrian regime" and they have "gone to great lengths to avoid civilians and foreign casualties".

Mr Macron claimed on Thursday he had "evidence" that chemical weapons were used in Douma by the Syrian government, including chlorine gas.

In another series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump bemoaned the state of relations between the United States and Russian Federation.

Reuters quoted a US official as saying the strikes were aimed at multiple targets and involved Tomahawk missiles.

The Syrian Army reports shooting down 20 US, UK and French missiles.

Syria's military has repositioned some air assets to avoid missile strikes, USA officials told Reuters.

Despite several tweets threatening military action against Syria by Donald Trump the U.S has yet to launch military strikes on the Assad regime.

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