Russian Ambassador to U.S. warns of 'consequences' for Syrian missile strike

Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli reports on the White House response to Syria so far

Russian president Vladimir Putin has denounced the missile strikes by the US, France and the United Kingdom as an "act of aggression" that would exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.

Peskov wouldn't say if Moscow could use a Russia-US military hotline to avoid casualties in a case of a US blow, saying only that "the hotline exists and has remained active".

Trump met 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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday warned his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron during a telephone call against any "dangerous actions" in Syria, the Kremlin said.

"A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad", Trump said in a televised address from the White House. In the UK, Cabinet ministers said that it was "highly likely" the Assad regime was responsible for the attack and said the use of chemical weapons must not "go unchallenged".

Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov retaliated hours after the airstrike on Syria with a statement vowing "such actions will not be left without consequences".

President Donald Trump and his national security aides on Thursday discussed U.S. options on Syria, where he has threatened missile strikes in response to a suspected poison gas attack, as a Russian envoy voiced fears of wider conflict between Washington and Moscow.

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"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place", he tweeted.

"All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris".

He added: "Insulting the president of Russian Federation is unacceptable and inadmissible".

"The U.S. - the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons - has no moral right to blame other countries".

The Syrian government and Russian forces in Syria possess truck-mounted surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapons systems.

The Kremlin on Friday claimed that British intelligence forces helped stage the attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend.

In an early-morning reaction on his Twitter and Facebook feeds, Rutte said it was likely that the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad was behind the suspected chemical attack in Douma.

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Any US strike would probably involve the Navy, given the risk to aircraft from Russian and Syrian air defenses.

A USA official told Reuters news agency the attacks were aimed at multiple targets and involved Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Hmeimim (also Khmeimim) Air Base, south-east of the city of Latakia in Syria, with transport planes seen in the background on December 11, 2017. US officials had earlier said that Trump had pressed for a more aggressive USA strike against Syria than his military chiefs had recommended.

At least 70 people were killed in two suspected chemical attacks on the Syrian town last Saturday.

Iran also warned of "regional consequences" following the attacks.

The Russian aircraft were scrambled in response to reports of seven USA spy planes near the coastal regions of Tartus and Lattakia.

In recent days the administration had weighed how to intensify the attack without collapsing the Assad regime or drawing Russian Federation or Iran further into the fight.

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