Pro-Assad official: Targeted bases were evacuated on Russian warning

Russia warns US against military action over alleged chemical attack in Syria

By working with two other allies, and spending several days consulting with military commanders and leaders in Europe and the Middle East, Trump's approach differed from a unilateral USA missile attack against Syria nearly exactly a year ago in the aftermath of another chemical attack blamed on Assad's forces.

Opponents of unilateral United States action called an emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council for later Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will call for an emergency meeting of the United Nations' Security Council following the coordinated missile strikes by the U.S., France and the U.K. against Syria.

Russian Federation has told Sky News it will protect its people on the ground in Syria if missiles are launched by the U.S. and its allies.

The US, France and the United Kingdom have reportedly backed the former's plan of striking Syria, in response to the alleged chemical attack.

Trump, who has often said a commander in chief should never telegraph his military intentions, apparently did so himself, tweeting that missiles "will be coming" in response to the suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40 people near Damascus.

If the United States action follows the pattern of a previous punitive strike on Syria past year, it will begin with a salvo of cruise missiles fired from American warships in the Mediterranean, as Trump implied when he tweeted they would be "nice, new and 'smart'".

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The chairman of the worldwide affairs committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, said the strikes were a violation of worldwide law and probably created to prevent investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog from doing their work.

Konashenkov said Friday that Britain was "directly involved in the provocation", but didn't elaborate or provide evidence.

A pre-designed scenario is being implemented.

Russian Federation and the United States are continuing their saber-rattling over the latest allegations of a chemical attack in Syria.

"Russia severely condemns the attack on Syria where Russian military are helping the lawful government in the fight with terrorism", the Kremlin in its first reaction to the strikes. Locating Syrian aircraft alongside Russian military hardware might make Washington reluctant to target them.

"We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences".

"Insulting the president of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible", added the envoy, after President Donald Trump directly called out his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over his support for the Assad regime.

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The chemical attack dispute is expected to further harm Russia-U.S. relations after tensions between the two sides have already soared to a new high following mutual expulsions of large numbers of diplomatic personnel.

In a USA military action a year ago in response to a sarin gas attack, the Pentagon said missiles took out almost 20 per cent of the Syrian air force.

Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that Moscow received the confidential information from the laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland, that analyzed samples from the site of the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

"Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legitimate government that has been fighting worldwide terrorism for several years on its territory", she said.

The suspected attack, denied by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, was carried out last week, reportedly killing over 70 people.

The U.S., France and Britain have been in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as the end of this week, U.S. officials have said.

"Moscow understands that a strike (against USA forces) will bring about a response and it is not certain that Russian Federation will emerge victorious from such a conflict", he told AFP. Smoke could be seen rising from the northern and eastern edges of the capital. The government's capture of Douma, the last town held by the rebels in eastern Ghouta, marked a major victory for Assad.

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