UK Cabinet to discuss military action in Syria

POLITICS Syria Weapons

"We call upon. members of the global community to seriously consider the possible consequences of such accusations, threats and especially action (against Syria)", Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

President Donald Trump announced on Friday he ordered strikes on the Syrian regime in response to a chemical weapons attack last weekend.

Meanwhile, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says experts are travelling to Syria and will start investigations on Saturday.

Half a world away in New York, Russia's United Nations ambassador warned the priority in Syria was to avert US-led strikes that could lead to a unsafe confrontation between the world's two preeminent nuclear powers.

A separate YouGov survey on Thursday found 61 percent of people think it would be necessary for parliament to vote on military action against Syria, with just 18 percent saying it was not necessary and 21 percent undecided.

According to the sources, the specific response being considered in the event of US military action against Syria is Japan's "support for the USA resolve to fulfill its responsibility to prevent the use of chemical weapons".

"But should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree".

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Senator Edward Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticised Trump's warnings that he intends to conduct military strikes in retaliation against Assad's use of chemical weapons.

Japan has also refrained from joining the United States and other countries in alleging Russia was responsible for the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain last month.

Syria warned that it will have "no other choice" but to defend itself if the West launches military action.

A French frigate, UK Royal Navy submarines laden with cruise missiles and the USS Donald Cook, an American destroyer equipped with Tomahawk land attack missiles have all moved into range of Syria's sun-bleached coast.

A top leader of Jaish al-Islam, a group which controlled Douma for years, told AFP it was Saturday's attack that forced them to accept a Russian-brokered deal and evacuate.

May has indicated she wants Britain to join in any US -led strikes in response to the suspected attack near Damascus.

In a statement, Senator Bernie Sanders said Trump has no legal authority for broadening the war in Syria.

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In Paris, France's Emmanuel Macron upped the pressure on Moscow by stating he had "proof" that the Assad's regime had used chemical weapons, and vowing a response "at a time of our choosing".

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he sees no legal justification for a USA strike in Syria, absent explicit authorization by Congress.

Parliament voted down British military action against Assad's government in 2013, in an embarrassment for May's predecessor, David Cameron.

Opposition activists, rescue workers and medics say dozens of people died in a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma on Saturday.

"We're looking very, very seriously, very closely, at that whole situation", the President said from the Cabinet Room.

Asked about consulting the U.S, which has also threatened military action, Le Drian said "France is autonomous in taking its decisions". The sites reportedly include "two Syrian airfields, a research center and a chemical weapons facility".

There was no immediate confirmation or indication from Assad's government that Syrian troops entered Douma on Thursday.

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