Angela Merkel points finger at Assad regime over Syria chemical attack

In a Kremlin statement, Putin underlined "the unacceptability of making unfounded accusations against anyone before a thorough and impartial global investigation is carried out".

The Syrian leader, whose army has battled various insurgent groups since 2011, echoed previous comments in which he said the conflict would be finished within months without foreign support for opposition groups and called out the US for having trained and equipped Syrian rebels under former President Barack Obama.

"It is not correct to say that Moscow can convince Mr. Assad to do whatever is wanted in Moscow", Peskov said. "This is totally wrong".

The complicated battlefield in Syria could be enough to deter the USA president from launching a military intervention against the Assad government, but there is also the effect it could have on his popularity among supporters.

"My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed", Trump said on Wednesday, standing alongside King Abdullah II of Jordan in the White House Rose Garden.

Western powers, including the U.S., and health organisations have accused the Syrian army of carrying out a chemical attack.

At the U.N., the United States, which now holds the presidency of the Security Council, it drafted a resolution along with Britain and France that condemns the use of chemical weapons, particularly in the attack on Khan Sheikhoun, "in the strongest terms". Absolutely, although I am sure Trump is happy he is not dealing with a Syria that still has 1,300 tons of chemical weapons.

Turkey would welcome US military action in Syria following a chemical attack that killed scores in Idlib province, and would be ready to assist if needed, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Thursday. In meetings with members of Congress, Trump has said he's considering military action as retaliation for the attack, CNN reports.

Mr Trump said he may talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Syria.

The Arizona Republican said that the US then has "to set up a government", and that the "interim government would probably be elements of the Free Syrian Army".

"France is still seeking to talk with its partners on the Security Council".

"These crimes must not go unpunished".

Video: Syria attack: Will Putin listen to Trump?

Syria has been divided by a civil war for the last six years, resulting in the deaths of more than 400,000, according to human rights groups.

The gas attack in Idlib province outraged the world.

The world learned of the chemical attack earlier in the week in footage that showed people dying in the streets and bodies of children stacked in piles.

Visuals from the scene were reminiscent of a 2013 nerve gas attack on the suburbs of Damascus that left hundreds dead.

The draft United Nations resolution backs a probe by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and demands Syria provide information on its operations. "This is an ongoing investigation", it said.

At a news conference Wednesday, Trump said the chemical attack changed his opinion about what to do about Syria.

In Turkey, state-run Anadolu and the private DHA news agencies quoted justice minister Bekir Bozdag as saying that "it was determined after the autopsy that a chemical weapon was used". But, he said, "the prudent course of action would be for him to come to Congress and consult and discuss privately what he's going to do".

Moallem said Damascus needs assurances that any worldwide probe of the tragedy will be objective.

That suspected attack was five days before the more dramatic assault Tuesday in Khan Sheikhoun.

Trump described the recent chemical attack as a "disgrace to humanity".

He also called for 72-hour cease-fires in the key zones of fighting so aid can get in, and protection for hospitals and evacuees who choose to leave violent areas voluntarily.

Peskov said Russian Federation expects a full worldwide investigation into the attack before the U.N. Security Council considers any resolution condemning the chemical attack that he described as "very tragic".

The US, UK and French representatives to the United Nations have called for a vote on new resolution which would impose sanctions on "those responsible" for the attacks.

Sherman, a Democrat on the Foreign Affairs committee, said Thursday night that there were 59 Tomahawk missiles launched that "hit a particular air base from which we believe the chemical weapons were employed".

Failure to agree on a compromise text could prompt Russian Federation to use its veto to block the draft resolution, which Moscow has done seven times to shield Syria. More than 70 people were killed, including children, and scores more were injured.

  • Leroy Wright