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etvfutures.com April 22, 2018


Trump signals strikes against Syria, lays into Assad backer Russian Federation

16 April 2018, 02:39 | Lucia Cruz

Report: Russia has been jamming US drones in Syria for weeks

Russia warns US against military action over alleged chemical attack in Syria

Russian military and diplomatic officials warned before Trump ordered the military strike on Syria that they would counter any attack on Syrian forces in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack on April 7.

Global chemical weapons experts were travelling to Syria to investigate an alleged gas attack by government forces on the town of Douma which killed dozens of people.

It seems that any U.S. strike on Syria-which still appears highly likely-will occur in conjunction with France and Britain.

"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented", Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said its experts in Syria will start investigations on Saturday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he called the ambassadors of the Council's veto-wielding powers, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, "to reiterate my deep concern about the risks of the current impasse and stressed the need to avoid the situation spiralling out of control". President Donald Trump on April 12 appeared to put off what seemed earlier in the week like imminent US air strikes in retaliation for a suspected chemical-weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma that killed at least 43 civilians on April 7.

Indeed, the spokesman for another Iranian-backed militia warned on Wednesday that a United States attack on Syria would have serious consequences for the entire region.

"The situation in the world is becoming more chaotic", he continued, "nevertheless we still hope that common sense will eventually prevail"- seemingly alluding to Trump's dramatic tweet.

"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded", Haley said, speaking at the U.N. Security Council meeting opened at Russia's request to discuss military strikes carried out by the United States, France and Britain on Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack.

If confirmed, the town's seizure would mark the last stage of Assad's takeover of the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta.

Macron kept up the drumbeat for likely war with his claim of evidence that chemical weapons were used in the attack, although he did not elaborate.

"We're still assessing the intelligence, ourselves and our allies", Mattis said. "If it's the Russians, if it's Syria, if it's Iran, if it's all of them together, we'll figure it out", he said.

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The answer, for now at least, is that Russian Federation has not activated a response, although that may soon change.

His comments raised the prospect of direct conflict over Syria for the first time between the two world powers backing opposing sides in the seven-year-old civil war, which has aggravated instability across the Middle East.

Russia's ambassador to Lebanon on Tuesday had told Lebanon's Al Manar TV that any USA missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launch sites targeted, Reuters reported.

Russia's United Nations ambassador warned that US-led strikes could lead to a confrontation between the world's two preeminent nuclear powers.

During his meeting with Trump and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, Mattis pushed for more evidence of the Assad regime's culpability for the attack, to bolster the case for air strikes, The New York Times reported.

Syria and its backers, Russian Federation and Iran, say reports of the attack were fabricated by rebels, and rescue workers in Douma have accused the U.S. of seeking to use it as a pretext to attack the government.

Russian Federation has repeatedly accused rebels of staging or spreading rumours of chemical attacks, but the involvement of Britain is a new claim.

Russian Federation first intervened in Syria in 2015, turning the tables in the multi-front civil war in favour of ally President Bashar al-Assad.

US President Donald Trump appeared to back away from earlier threats of imminent action and France's Emmanuel Macron yesterday called for stepped-up talks with Moscow.

He said the strikes were unlikely to curb the government's ability to produce or launch new attacks.

Russian Federation recently stated "it would certainly react to any sort of United States missiles shot on Syria by shooting all of them down" and even "targeting their launch locations".



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