Trump to Skip South America Summit to Focus on Syria

Strike on Syria air base kills 14, including Iranian forces: monitor
Tensions soar in Syria as Trump threatens to strike and Iranians die in attack

11 April, 2018

A Lebanese politician with close links to the Syrian government confirmed that precautionary measures were being taken throughout Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that as of Monday night, troops have been on a 72-hour alert and are fortifying their positions.

A limited USA airstrike against Syria - similar to a year ago - is unlikely to hurt President Bashar Assad's growing strength in his country or change the course of the civil war, analysts said Monday.

The deal restores President Bashar al-Assad's control over the entire eastern Ghouta - formerly the biggest rebel bastion near Damascus. Trump gave no hints about potential USA action, but al-Thani told reporters, "We can not tolerate, with a war criminal" like Assad.

Officials said Trump had been viewing the trip unenthusiastically, though he'd been advised that his presence at the summit would provide an important symbol of American commitment to the region.

President Donald Trump said Monday he will decide "probably by the end of today" on a us response to the apparent chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians.

"And so, working with our allies and our partners from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to Qatar and elsewhere, we are going to address this issue", Mattis said in brief remarks to reporters as he began a meeting with the emir of Qatar.

"I want to get out", Trump said.

Russia's claim came hours after the Pentagon denied Syrian media reports that the US conducted the airstrikes in Syria.

Trump, asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin bore any responsibility, responded, "He may, yeah, he may".

"It is insane to think that Russian Federation is anything but an adversary", Mr. Sasse said.

Some NGOs, including the White Helmets, claim that chemical weapons were used in Douma, a suburb of the Syrian capital on April 7.

"What Russia is trying to do, it strikes me, Mr President, is to turn the debate in this Council away from a discussion of the use of chemical weapons into a dispute between East and West, presenting itself as the victim".

A United States action similar to last year's would likely not cause a shift in the direction of the war that has gone Assad's way since 2015.

Amid the tough talk from the White House, the USA military appeared to be in position to carry out any attack order.

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French President Emmanuel Macron, left, has taken a tough line on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Israel does not typically comment on its operations in Syria, and it is unclear whether the missile attack was linked to the alleged use of chemical weapons.

Top U.S. military chiefs reportedly advised the president that their forces need to remain in Syria to prevent an ISIS resurgence.

Any US strike is likely to involve naval assets, given the risk to aircraft from Russian and Syrian air defence systems.

"We assess what has taken place and we'll also be discussing with our allies what action is necessary", said British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday.

Mr. Trump spoke Tuesday with British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron, who said France would decide in the coming days on "a strong and joint response" with the US and Britain to the suspected attack.

Graphic footage shot by rescuers and activists show victims of the attack - including children - dead and injured, some ghostly white and foaming at the mouth in makeshift clinics.

Trump had been scheduled to travel to Lima, Peru, on Friday to attend the Summit of the Americas and then travel on to Bogota, Colombia. It is the first time a USA president has skipped the summit.

"The president would like to stay in the country while there are a lot of developments going on around the world", Mrs. Sanders said. The officials are not authorized to discuss military planning by name.

Israel's foreign ministry says Tuesday that Syria "continues to perpetrate crimes against humanity in using these outlawed weapons".

"We can not allow atrocities like that". "This matter should end immediately".

May is wary of the domestic political risks of promising military action, and has so far focused on the need to discover the facts about the attack and establish a common global response. A US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean. It's armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, the weapon of choice in a US attack one year ago on an airfield in Syria following an alleged sarin gas attack on civilians.

The change in Trump's travel plans came a day after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the offices and home of his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. The Navy does not now have a carrier in the Persian Gulf.

SANA reported that the missile attack on the T4 military air base in Homs province resulted in a number of casualties. An attack with chlorine, which can be used as a weapon but is not outright banned by the treaty, could raise precedent issues, as there have been numerous recent allegations of chlorine attacks in Syria that have drawn no response from the Trump administration.

Iran is one of President Bashar Assad's strongest backers and has sent thousands of Iran-backed gunmen to back his forces.

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