Russia's United Nations ambassador warned of a possible war with America on Thursday as US President Donald Trump held meetings with his staff to discuss action on Syria, which he has threatened to hit with missile strikes after a suspected poison gas attack on civilians in the city of Douma.
He called for a "strong and joint response" to the attack in the Syrian town of Douma on Saturday, which Syrian activists and rescuers say killed 40 people.
It's a nightmare scenario for Syria: The United States launches strikes on Syrian targets, killing Russians, and Moscow is forced to defend itself or retaliate. "Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'", Trump wrote.
At a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Pentagon's 2019 budget request, Mattis said that because the USA had no one at the site of the suspected chemical attack in Syria last Saturday, the US has no hard evidence of what happened.
At the House hearing, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, disputed Trump's legal authority to act without congressional authority and suggested a USA strike would lead to war with Russian Federation.
The Prime Minister has also been urged to consult Parliament before committing British armed forces to strikes by American and French forces.
Although Mattis noted that military action carried risks, he also emphasized that Syrian use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.
Trump's national security team huddled at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the response to Syria.
Meanwhile, a senior Russian lawmaker warned the US that Russia would consider an airstrike on Syria as a war crime, state media reported Wednesday. "On top of that the escalation of tension between USA and Russian Federation added to the demand for the greenback (against the rupee)", said a senior foreign exchange dealer with a private sector bank. Worldwide chemical weapons inspectors are seeking assurances from Damascus of safe passage to and from Douma to determine whether globally banned munitions were used, though will not assign blame.
Senior government ministers were summoned back from a spring break to discuss the attack last week in Douma, which has sparked a tense confrontation between Western nations and Syria and its allies, led by Russian Federation.
Two groups of experts from the OPCW chemical watchdog will arrive in Syria on Thursday and Friday to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in a rebel-held town, Syria's United Nations ambassador Bashar Jaafari said.
"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria", Trump wrote.
"There is a proposal to start with the destruction of chemical weapons".
France said yesterday it had proof the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons.
In an interview with pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV late Wednesday, Shabaan said the US threats of striking Syria aim to make more gains, stressing that consultations are ongoing among the allies of Syria and will not leave things to go Washington's way.
"We do not participate in Twitter diplomacy", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement.
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.
USA officials are confident the Syrian government was behind the attack in Douma over the weekend that left dozens of people dead, MSNBC reported.
It remains unclear what or when the USA will do.
The axis of resistance, meaning the Syrian allies of Iran and Hezbollah, has its choices and dealing quietly, Shabaan said, adding that the rule of clashes has changed in favor of the Syrian side.