Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

Syria's Assad warns Western action would 'further destabilise' region

Syria's Assad warns Western action would 'further destabilise' region

Announcing the strikes, US President Donald Trump criticised both Russian Federation and Iran, which have backed Assad's government.

If Britain, France and the United States take military action, "we would have no other choice expect applying Article 51 that gives us the right to defend ourselves", said Jaafari. He has previously told his national security team he wants United States troops to exit Syria within six months.

"What's remarkable is that Theresa May appears to have given prior consent to whatever the White House decided".

Syria and its ally Russian Federation deny such an attack happened.

On Wednesday he said the missiles were "coming", but on Thursday he tweeted that he had "never said when".

Syria's Assad warns Western action would 'further destabilise' region
Syria's Assad warns Western action would 'further destabilise' region

Earlier this month, a United Nations commission of inquiry released a report accusing the regime of committing war crimes in Eastern Ghouta, including the use of chemical weapons against civilians.

The strikes were a response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend which killed dozens of civilians.

Trump also called out Russia's promise in 2013 that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons.

"We are watching what Russians do in the next 24 hours", the official said, adding that there will be intelligence collection to see what Russians are up to in the wake of the strikes, such as turning on their systems or talking about retaliating.

Mattis was expected to voice those concerns in Thursday's meeting at the White House, according to USA officials.

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The warning from Moscow came as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that increasing tensions over Syria could lead to "full-blown military escalation".

What has Trump said about the attack?

He said how "we keep this from escalating out of control" and avoiding civilian casualties were among his chief concerns. We have to make some further decisions. "They'll be made fairly soon".

Trump first warned in an early morning tweet Wednesday that "nice and new and "smart" missiles would be headed to Syria, telling its ally Russian Federation to "get ready".

On the night of last week's suspected chemical attack, a network of local flight monitors had tracked Syrian government helicopters circling the skies above the city of Douma in the minutes before the deadliest attack was reported. Officials said Thursday the trio has yet to reach firm agreement on the scale or timing of a response. "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences".

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Trump did not provide details on the joint U.S. -British-French attack, but it was expected to include barrages of cruise missiles launched from outside Syrian airspace.

Macron went further in an interview with France's TF1, suggesting the gas used was chlorine.

The latest events in Douma are examples of the Assad regime's "violation of worldwide norms", British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday.

Although Syria's military had moved aircraft and other military assets in the days preceding Friday's strike, Dunford said he did not believe it had moved chemical weapons materials.

"They [OPCW experts] will arrive in Damascus today and tomorrow they will start their work in Douma", said Sablin, who is the coordinator of a parliamentary group for ties with Syrian lawmakers.

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