Syria chemical attack evidence must be preserved, says UN

He further noted that given the United States' domestic problems, the country's issues with Russian Federation, and the ongoing investigations into Trump's case, and, in general, the overall domestic situation in the USA, the country will not launch a massive strike against Syria. He added: "Everybody's gonna pay a price".

"I'm not ready to speculate that that would happen", Mattis said.

The military drumbeat appeared to reach crescendo ahead of the meeting, with U.S. action seeming imminent as Russian Federation stonewalled diplomatic efforts at the United Nations and France cited "proof" that Moscow's Syrian ally carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has urged calm and efforts to restitute peace in Syria during separate calls this week with U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

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

Slovenia's Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said in a statement to the official STA news agency that "due to the Syria crisis", French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian cancelled his planned visit to Slovenia on Friday and Saturday.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia insisted that there was "no credible confirmation of toxic substance use in Douma", adding that "we have information to believe that what took place is a provocation with the participation of certain countries' intelligence services".

French President Emmanuel Macron also said he had "proof" that the Syrian government had attacked Douma with chemical weapons. "To me there's not much of a doubt, but the generals will figure it out", Trump said.

Trump spoke Thursday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, and the White House said afterward they continued their discussion the need for a joint response.

Never said when an attack on Syria would take place.

"All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalise the use of chemical weapons".

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, he reiterated warnings to the West against military action saying that even the smallest miscalculation in Syria could lead to new waves of migrants and that ultimatums and threats did not help the dialogue.

Tajik said "Trump has vowed to do something, but he can't".

There remains tension between what President Trump and National Security Adviser Bolton want and what the Pentagon is advocating.

The U.N. charter, which the US has ratified, states that countries can only use force on another nation's soil in self-defense or if the U.N. Security Council has authorized action through a resolution.

When asked about his greatest worry if the USA strikes Syria again, the defense secretary cited civilian casualties.

Earlier this week, a missile launch on Syria seemed imminent.

"All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalise the use of chemical weapons", she said. Initial reports indicated the use of chlorine gas, possibly in addition to the nerve agent Sarin.

Similarly, a competing draft - penned by Russian Federation - which would have established the mechanism for one year as well but would have given the Security Council the responsibility to assign accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, was also not adopted.

Konashenkov claimed Britain had told the White Helmets, who serve as first-responders in rebel-held areas, to fake the attack in the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.

The Trump administration, backed by France and Britain, on Monday began making a circumstantial case that Syria and its Russian and Iranian partners bore direct responsibility for the weekend deaths of over 50 people in the opposition-held town of Douma, outside Damascus, the Washington Post reported.

  • Leroy Wright