Russia UN envoy says US wants to oust Syrian govt, contain Russia

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USA officials said the precision strikes hit a scientific research center near Damascus, a storage facility and command post also near the capital and a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs.

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May said all the indications pointed to Syrian government responsibility for the attack and such "a shocking and barbaric act" could not go unchallenged.

The WHO said 43 people had died in Saturday's attack on Douma from "symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals", and more than 500 had been treated.

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", Russia's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday.

In his televised address from the White House on Friday evening, Trump said the US was prepared to sustain economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until the Syrian leader ends what Trump called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the US-led missile attack on Syria and has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the military action from the White House late on Friday.

President Trump has sent mixed messages on the USA response, warning Russian Federation in a tweet Wednesday to "get ready" for US missile strikes in Syria in retaliation for the attack. Trump called out Putin for failing to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons as Russian Federation had pledged to do in 2013.

The White House said such targeted sanctions would help to ensure that Russian oligarchs profiting from the Kremlin's destabilising activities, including its interference of Western democratic elections in 2016 and 2017, would face consequences for their actions.

Russian Federation continues to dispute that the attack took place at all.


Analysts and politicians caution that even though commentators are already referring to a new Cold War, relations between Moscow and Washington could get far worse.

Last April, when United States warships in the Mediterranean fired cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, Russian forces were warned in advance and pulled out of the target area, which was rapidly repaired.

As fears of a Russia-West military confrontation mounted, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his "deep concerns" over the situation in Syria in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He added that Russian Federation would "keep all its global obligations in full".

"It's some of the worst piece of fake news we've yet seen from the Russian Federation propaganda machine".

The foreign minister said Moscow and Washington need to broaden channels for communication and cooperation, especially given the extremely alarming atmosphere between the two sides.

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Russian Federation that supports him have been blamed for this attack. The Kremlin's ambassador to Beirut vowed that Russian forces would try to shoot down any U.S. missiles.

Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Syria's neighbour Turkey, said yesterday he had spoken by telephone with Mr Trump and Mr Putin, and told both that increasing tensions in the region was not right.

Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said during a visit to Damascus on Tuesday that an Israeli attack on an air base in Syria earlier this week would "not remain without response".

" We hope that there will be no point of return - that the U.S. and their allies will refrain from military action against a sovereign state", Nebenzia informed press reporters late Thursday evening hours.

Britain's UN Ambassador Karen Pierce meanwhile rejected a charge by a Russian defence ministry spokesman that Britain was involved in staging a fake chemical weapons attack in Douma.

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