Defying Russian warnings against USA military strikes in Syria, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" in response to Syria's suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40 people.
Trump met with members of his National Security Council on Thursday to discuss the US's options with regards to Syria. "We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies.
We're looking for the actual evidence", Secretary of Defense James Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, Trump appeared to soften his rhetoric about imminent airstrikes on Syria, a day after warning Russian Federation that missiles "will be coming, nice and new and 'smart.'" In an early morning tweet and later in comments at the White House, Trump worked to cloud the timing of military action and said a final decision had not yet been made.
"We will have decisions to make in good time, when we decide that it is most useful and most efficient", he said, referring to potential military strikes, and adding that any strikes would target the regime's chemical infrastructure.
May's office said in a statement that the Cabinet judged it "highly likely" the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad was behind the chemical attack last weekend in the town of Douma.
Assad's media and political adviser reiterated the government's rejection of accusations the country used chemical weapons, telling Al-Mayadeen TV in an interview in Damascus late Wednesday that Syria and its allies - Russia, Iran and Hezbollah - will prevail in any upcoming conflict.
"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria", Trump wrote.
Nebenzya said the worldwide community's main priority should be preventing the war in Syria against the background of Washington's threats, adding that a direct military standoff between Russian Federation and the United States can not be ruled out in current circumstances. But on Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".
In response to the threats, Assad said Thursday that a potential retaliation would be based on "lies" and would seek to undermine his forces' recent advances near Damascus.
Analysts say May's war cabinet meeting indicates that she does not plan to consult UK Parliament ahead of any possible action in Syria.
Asked about consulting the U.S, which has also threatened military action, Le Drian said "France is autonomous in taking its decisions".
After years of Syrian civil war, Russian Federation is suddenly terribly concerned that USA provocation could lead to war.
The UK Government has also vowed to stand alongside France and the United States in their response to the crisis, after Mrs May convened an emergency Cabinet meeting to gain full cabinet support form her ministers to proceed with military action.
The ministers, who were called from their Easter holiday for the meeting, agreed with May that the use of chemical weapons must not "go unchallenged", a Downing Street spokeswoman said in the statement.
Earlier in the day, Trump told reporters that he was having a very close look at the situation.
United Nations investigators have determined that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad crossed that red line multiple times since then-using chemical weapons on civilians.
This image released early Sunday, April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a rescue worker carrying a child following an alleged chemical weapons attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. All he had to do was follow through on challenging President Bashar al-Assad over chemical weapons.
Mr. Trump is slated to speak with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May Thursday evening.
According to state-run Syrian News Agency (SANA), an official source at the Syrian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the government will cooperate fully with the OPCW fact-finding mission and that it would hold the West responsible for any delays in that mission. Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart!", he threatened. Inspectors with the global chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, are due to investigate the incident.
He did not say whether France was planning military action.