US Contacted Russia Before Striking Syria to Avoid Casualities - Envoy to Moscow

Donald Trump has apparently flipped on Vladimir Putin, but it's not just about Syria

Trump's bellicose tweets came in response to a warning from Russia's ambassador to Beirut, who took to a television network run by the armed group Hezbollah to declare that any United States missiles would be shot down "as well as the sources they were fired from". "Could not have had a better result".

The withdrawal plan, which still doesn't have the backing of U.S. military leaders and diplomats, entails leaving behind a smaller force to hunt down Islamic State fighters and help local forces secure areas liberated from the terrorist outfit. Bush addressed sailors aboard a ship in May 2003 alongside a "Mission Accomplished" banner, just weeks before it became apparent that Iraqis had organized an insurgency that tied down US forces for years.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said President Donald Trump "has not yet made a decision about possible actions in Syria".

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the Middle East is in such "peril" today that it has become a threat to global peace and security - and Syria "represents the most serious threat".

The Assad regime's suspected use of chemical munitions against civilians galvanized the president to set aside his concerns about involvement in the conflict, just as a reported sarin attack did a year ago, prompting Trump to order a cruise missile strike on an isolated airfield linked to the civilian deaths.

However, pushing such conspiracy theories has become a norm in Russian Federation, whenever Russia wants to cover up its or its allies footprints in Syria.

Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said no aircraft or missiles involved in the operation "were successfully engaged by Syrian air defenses".

French President Emmanuel Macron said France contributed to the US -led Syrian attacks because the "red line declared by France in May 2017 has been crossed".

Trump, who has often said a commander in chief should never telegraph his military intentions, apparently did so himself, tweeting that missiles "will be coming" in response to the suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40 people near Damascus. Syria has denied the accusation.

Although Mattis noted that military action carried risks, he also emphasized that Syrian use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation representatives planned a special session to hear from U.S., British and French officials.

On the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma where an estimated 70 people died, he said Russian security services "did not find any traces of chemical substances".

Trump said the US was prepared to sustain economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until he ends what Trump called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

If the United States opts for a broader attack, it may choose to conduct initial precision strikes to debilitate ground air defenses.

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. Activities of US nationals, even those who are high-class specialists, will be halted.

Netanyahu's office said:"The prime minister reiterated that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria". The White House has stopped calling for Assad's ouster, while the USA military is racing to defeat remnants of the Islamic State before it is required to withdraw the 2,000 US troops there.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the West's response was "necessary and appropriate".

He then said the USA would accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons and Russian Federation supporting it. US officials have yet to determine precisely what was used, but suspect that a banned nerve agent like sarin was mixed with chlorine. And he insisted it remains US policy not to be involved directly in Syria's civil war.

"This is hard to do in a situation like this", he said, in light of the volatility of chemical agents.

Friday's strikes appear to signal Trump's willingness to draw the United States more deeply into the Syrian conflict. But the description from an ally put things differently.

"We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies", it said.

"Russia in the most serious way condemns the attack on Syria where Russian military servicemen help the legitimate government to fight terrorism", Putin said. That included aircraft, machinery, pharmaceutical and chemical products.

"Did a chemical weapons attack happen?"

The response may not be military, but it should extract some sort of cost - whether political, military or economic - each time, Hersman said.

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