U.S. blames Syria government for gas attack, mulls aggressive strike

Trump says Airstrikes on Syria Underway

Speaking via satellite link to supporters in Beirut Friday, Nasrallah also called the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma "theater".

He "regretted" the Russian veto at the U.N. Security Council which prevented a "united and firm response" after a suspected gas attack last week in Douma, Syria.

"We have absorbed the strike", the official told Reuters.

Nervous world stock markets showed signs of recovery after Trump's signal that military strikes might not be imminent.

Russian Federation has claimed that it has "irrefutable" data that an apparent chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma in eastern Ghouta was staged by special services of a foreign country.

A state broadcaster is telling Russians to stockpile food and water in preparation for war as the conflict in Syria escalates.

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"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria", Trump tweeted.

Putin's defence ministry told the state run RIA news agency: "They are the guarantors of law and order in the town". Last year, the United States carried out strikes from two Navy destroyers against a Syrian air base after another deadly toxic gas attack on a rebel-controlled area.

In response, Russia's Foreign Ministry said, "Smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not towards the lawful government".

"Not one of the cruise missiles released by the USA and its allies entered the zone of responsibility of Russian air defenses protecting facilities in Tartus and Hmeimim", the ministry said in a statement carried by the RIA Novosti state news agency, referring to the locations of the Russian outposts.

Faced with the threat of a USA strike on Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin has a dilemma: allow US missiles to hit Moscow's ally without a response or risk a military clash with the United States.

Asked if he had seen enough evidence to blame the Syrian president, Mattis said: "We're still working on this".

Russian Federation pledged to counter any United States missile strike on Syria
Iran also warned of "regional consequences" following the attacks. "You have to be quite abnormal to attack Syria's capital just at the moment when it had a chance for a peaceful future".

USA defense officials had previously declined to say Russians had been killed. It was unclear whether his remarks reflected any unease about Trump's apparent move toward military action.

USA sanctions imposed Friday barred US citizens from doing business with numerous Russian businessmen, officials and companies, and froze any assets they may have in USA jurisdiction. The Syrian government denies responsibility.

As the prospect of US -led military action that could lead to confrontation with Russian Federation hung over the Middle East, the White House accused Syria of staging a toxic gas assault on April 7 that killed dozens of people in Douma, near Damascus.

Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military's General Staff said the strikes have not caused any casualties and Syrian military facilities targeted by the U.S., Britain and France have suffered only minor damage, the Associated Press reported. A guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean.

President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin has deployed warplanes and troops to Syria to defend Assad's regime, and - as usual - issued a series of conflicting denials on his behalf.

Mr Macron said he would decide whether to strike Syrian government targets in retaliation once all the necessary information had been gathered.

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The summit in Peru is a once-every-three-years meeting of leaders from across Latin America, the United States and Canada. Pence will not be traveling on to Colombia and is expected to return from the summit early Sunday.

May had recalled the ministers from their Easter holiday for the meeting to discuss Britain's response to what she has cast as a barbaric attack that can not go unchallenged.

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