April 21, 2018

Britons baulk at conflict with Russian Federation over Syria

12 April 2018, 06:21 | Marta Robbins

News US President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office at the White House

Trump warns Russia to

A pinpoint US strike on Syrian targets that does not harm Russian personnel "will allow Trump to say that the Assad regime has paid a heavy price ... and Russia in its turn will be able to limit itself to ringing statements", said Fyodor Lukyanov, the head of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policies, an association of top Russian political and security experts.

Dozens of people in Douma died and hundreds were injured in the attack, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). "The buildings of the ministry of defence and the army headquarters have been empty for two days", the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said. But Damascus allies had confirmed that precautionary measures were being taken throughout Syria.

With U.S. strike intentions so clearly forecast by Trump, the Syrian government has moved key aircraft to the Russian base near Latakia and is taking pains to secure important weapons systems, military analysts said.

France said it would consider a response with the United States and Britain.

Already Iran is threatening retaliation for an attack on a Syrian air base this week that killed seven Iranians - and that it, Syria and Russian Federation have blamed on Israel. We tell them. We're sending something else. A senior Russian lawmaker said Wednesday that Russia would engage its warships in the Mediterranean Sea to protect Russian assets in Syria from a US strike.

"The context of the relations has changed radically in the past year: We're in a state of a real and tangible Cold War", Lukyanov said. As images and videos of the hundreds of victims in Ghouta flooded YouTube and social media, the popular outcry over the atrocity prompted fierce debate over how best to respond in capitals throughout the world.

One woman who refused to be identified because of fear for her security described herself as "trembling" and said she stocked up on food and is considering not sending her kids to school. "They are our strategic partner, and our defense establishment is in constant contact with them", Elkin said.

"People say Trump is insane and he would like carry out his threats", the woman said.

Kim makes official mention of US-North Korea talks
That means it wants to see "complete, verifiable, and irreversible" denuclearization - a very high bar. Before that, Washington had relied mostly on South Korea's assurances of Kim's intentions.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, however, indicated that evidence of what happened in Saturday's suspected attack near Damascus is still being studied.

The Syrian government said its invitation to the global chemical weapons watchdog to send a fact-finding mission to the country is "proof" that Damascus is innocent and has not used chemical weapons.

"The pretext of a chemical attack has become well known to everybody and is a flimsy and unsubstantiated excuse to target Syria", the ministry statement said.

"We are not surprised by such a reckless escalation from a regime like the U.S. which has fostered and continues to foster terrorism in Syria", state news agency SANA quoted an official source at the foreign ministry as saying. The strike a year ago made good on Trump's vow not to let the use of chemical weapons go unpunished, but it failed to deter Assad from using them again.

In a tweet responding to the threat, President Trump said: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria".

"Whatever strikes he might order will need to hit Assad hard, and beyond symbolic targets of the regime's authority in Damascus", said Nicholas A. Heras, a Middle East security fellow at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security.

Russian Federation has warned at the council that Western military action in Syria would be illegal and could lead to a wider conflict.

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