USA - Trump puts off Syria strike decision, will talk to allies

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President Donald Trump tweeted again Thursday about a potential attack on Syria in response to the suspected chemical assault that took place last weekend in the country, but now he suggested retaliation could come at any time.

Donald Trump concluded his national security meeting on Syria without reaching a decision on the type of response his administration may take, the White House said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Vice President Mike Pence chaired the meeting Wednesday afternoon.

He said the USA is trying to get an inspection team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to the site of the alleged attack.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the Middle East is in such "chaos" today that it has become a threat to global peace and security - and Syria "represents the most serious threat". 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.

French president Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with TF1 that "we have proof that last week chemical weapons, at least chlorine, were used by the regime of Bashar Al Assad".

The US and its Western allies have been threatening Damascus with military action since Saturday, the day a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, reportedly killed 60 people and injured hundreds more.

Russian Federation announced on Thursday that the Syrian government is in full control of a town on the outskirts of Damascus that was held by rebels and was the site of a suspected chemical attack over the weekend.

And those options are still being discused with allies France and Britain.

Moscow's threat to shoot down US missiles came from the Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, who said he was referring to a statement by President Vladimir Putin and the Russian armed forces chief of staff.

Moscow's threat to down US missiles came from its ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, who said it was based on previous statements by President Vladimir Putin and the Russian armed forces chief of staff. "We don't want bombardment which leads to escalation and a hot war between the USA and Russian Federation over the skies of Syria".

"No final decision has been made".

The U.S. stance on striking Syria is no clearer, even after President Trump tweeted that missiles "will be coming".

Talk of a USA attack on Syria is part of a "psychological war meant to project power that the West has lost", Bouthaina Shaaban, Assad's media and political adviser, said in an interview late Wednesday with Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen TV.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it is "vital that parliament has the chance to debate and decide in advance" of any military action, which he warned "risks a unsafe escalation of the conflict".

Trump did not detail what a strike would look like, or whether these would be US missiles.

The US's military commitment to Syria, however, remains tiny compared to the US's involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", he told reporters.

But the Syrian military has taken on a more defensive posture, repositioning warplanes ahead of anticipated action.

The U.S. and Russian Federation are shoring up defenses near Syria as tensions escalate after last weekend's alleged chemical attack there.

Russian Federation said the issue was being used by the United States and its allies as a pretext to attack Syria.

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