Missile attack brings countries to brink of military clash, says Moscow

The decision to strike in Syria marked a stark reversal for Trump, who during his presidential campaign faulted past USA leaders for getting embroiled in conflicts in the Middle East.

President Trump had spoken out during his election campaign against US military intervention, and had been keen to fix relations with Russian Federation, whose president Vladimir Putin backs the Assad regime. Obama never carried out his threat.

A joint command centre made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad said yesterday the United States strike on a Syrian air base last week crossed "red lines" and it would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for its ally.

But the regime has denied any responsibility, saying its air strikes hit a rebel depot containing chemical materials.

Scores of people died and many were injured on Tuesday after the regime air strike dropped chemical bombs onto the town of Khan Shaykhun.

The focus of U.S. policy has turned to possible Russian complicity with last week's chemical attacks which the United States says were launched from Syrian aircraft based at the Shayrat air field near Homs. Without elaborating, he also said Russian Federation has received intelligence about planned "provocations" using chemical weapons that would put the blame on the Syrian government.

Those comments came a day after the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said there was no way to stabilise Syria with Mr Assad as president.

Turkey's foreign minister said Sunday that Turkey has no obligation to take a side in any dispute between the US and Russian Federation.

The action comes ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's trip to Moscow next week.

A reporter from the state-run Russia-24 outlet posted a video of activity on the Syrian airbase, with a caption that read, "Return to work at Shayrat".

At least 80 civilians died in the air attack on the town in rebel-held Idlib province prompting an global outcry.

Syria agreed to remove its chemical weapons stockpile in 2013 when the U.S. threatened military action after hundreds of people were killed in a sarin chemical attack on a Damascus suburb.

But for Russian Federation or any other nation, McMaster said, supporting Syria's regime isn't in its best interest, and Russian Federation ultimately decides the kind of relationship it wants with the United States.

Does the US strike appear to have been effective in damaging the Syrian military and sending a strong messasge?

Mr Tillerson wants to go on from here to Moscow able to confront the Russians with a strong set of demands backed by key U.S. allies.

The two leaders noted the importance of continuing close cooperation in the political and diplomatic settlement of the chronic Syrian civil war, the statement said.

  • Salvatore Jensen