Russia, the Syrian regime's most powerful ally, has denied a chemical attack took place and warned it would shoot down any US missiles fired over Syria, raising concerns of a US-Russia confrontation. This is in contrast to an incident one year ago in which US intelligence agencies had video and other evidence of certain aspects of the actual attack, which involved the use of Sarin gas.
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.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: "We call upon. members of the global community to seriously consider the possible consequences of such accusations, threats and especially action [against Syria]".
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has retaliated to the US President's latest tweets, claiming relations with Moscow were worse than during the Cold War and threatening a direct strike on Assad's forces following an alleged chemical attack in Douma.
The U.S., France and Britain have been in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as the end of this week, U.S. officials have said. Any riposte would most likely be in coordination with the United States, government aides said.
Russia imported $12.5 billion worth of USA products in 2017, according to official Russian customs data.
But the pinpoint strike did not deter Assad and U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have since investigated as many as 10 suspected chemical attacks.
Speaking on Saturday AEST, Trump said a combined operation led by USA with France and United Kingdom against the Assad regime is "now underway". Multiple IS terror attacks have targeted France, including one last month.
White House spokesman Raj Shah said Friday afternoon that Trump "is going to hold the Syrian government accountable".
"Initial indications are that the precision of the Storm Shadow weapons and meticulous target planning have resulted in a successful attack", the ministry said.
Following that visit, Russia's foreign minister said there were "no traces of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians".
British Prime Minister Theresa May and her senior ministers agreed on the need for action at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, while French President Emmanuel Macron said that if France conducted strikes, they would specifically target Syria's chemical capabilities.
Amid renewed focus on his alleged one-night stand with a porn worker and an Federal Bureau of Investigation search of his personal lawyer who purportedly paid her for silence on the matter, Trump lashed out at reports that the White House was in turmoil, while at the same time condemning the raid on his attorney Michael Cohen.
Trump has been weighing his course of action in Syria following the suspected chemical attack, which he described as "sick" over the weekend.
Trump tweets warning after Russian Federation vowed it would shoot down any USA missiles fired at Syria. Qatar hosts the United States' main air operations center for the Middle East, which would coordinate any American air attack in Syria. It was not immediately clear whether that visit would delay or avert US or allied military action.
He said the attack was staged on April 7 to coincide with military action by Syrian government forces, after the rebel group Jaish al-Islam that long controlled Eastern Ghouta carried out shelling of Damascus from April 3 to 6.
Jaafari also said Syria welcomes the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' fact-finding mission and "stands ready to fully cooperate and provide all forms of assistance".
The president's new national security adviser, John Bolton, urged Trump to skip the trip, an official said.
"I've said repeatedly I wish Russian Federation were no worse than a friendly rival as opposed to an unfriendly adversary, and what they're doing around the world including Syria is not helpful", Johnson said.
His remarks were part of a series of early-morning tweets regarding rising tensions between Russian Federation and Syria and the United States. The Nazi forces' opening attack against the USSR in 1941 was launched around 4 a.m., the same time in Russian Federation that Friday's attack occurred.