Trump set to order attack on Syria, tells Russian Federation to "get ready"
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 15, 2018,
Apr 15, 2018, 22:09
Assad has denied his regime was responsible for the attack in Douma and Russian Federation has claimed the incident was fabricated by rebels.
Trump has consulted allies in Europe to arrange a coordinated effort, and was planning to meet with top military leaders on Wednesday afternoon.
Maybe Trump hopes not to attack.
Trump said Monday he would decide "over the next 24 to 48 hours" on his response to Syria.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, striking a cautious tone after Trump's threat of missile strikes, said on Wednesday the United States was assessing intelligence about the suspected toxic gas attack.
Still, some of Trump's defenders might note the irony of the media, which have spent months wondering why Trump has been soft on Russian Federation, highlighting tough rhetoric directed at the Kremlin over its support of Assad.
Tonight, Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, urged the United States and allies to show restraint and said the "immediate priority is to avert the danger of war".
A stern statement last month by Russia's top military officer effectively drew a red line on any US strike.
"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented".
"We have to engage our brains as well as our emotions here, not be stampeded by those videos which are described as being unverified, but which by dint of being repeated over and over again come to acquire a spurious credibility".
Questions about the timetable came a day after Trump signaled an attack in a response to a Russian threat to shoot down USA missiles aimed at Syria.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned against a missile strike, writing on Facebook Wednesday that it could destroy evidence on the ground and interrupt the work of worldwide investigators. Despite the advance notice, Russian Federation made no effort to shoot down the American missiles.
But British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was little doubt the Syrian government used a barrel bomb - large containers packed with fuel, explosives and scraps of metal - to deliver the chemicals at Douma. The Kremlin said a crisis communications link with the USA, created to avoid an accidental clash over Syria, was in use.
"So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime", May said. But Trump notably did not rule out plans to attack Syria in retaliation for the weekend's suspected chemical attack on civilians at the hands of the Assad regime.
The same officials say Syria has continued to produce or procure chlorine, which also has industrial and agricultural uses.
He committed the U.S.to this approach last April when he struck Syrian air bases following a chemical attack on civilians by the Assad regime. Warplanes loaded with precision missiles and laser-guided bombs may have to be deployed within Syrian airspace and could be shot down.
Video circulated of the Syrian response.
The strikes "successfully hit every target", Ms White told reporters at the Pentagon.
"This is hard to do in a situation like this", he said, in light of the volatility of chemical agents.
The military said there were three targets - the Barzah chemical weapons research and development site in the Damascus area, a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs and a chemical weapons "bunker" a few miles from the second target.
However, the USA does hope French and British aircraft as well as ships will be part of the strikes as both nations continue to weigh the possibility of a joint response.
Peskov wouldn't say if Moscow could use a Russia-U.S. military hotline to avoid casualties in a case of a U.S. blow, saying only that "the hotline exists and has remained active".
The U.S. also has B-2 bombers at its disposal. "Despite that, a violation of the chemical weapons convention is a grave occurrence, for which a reaction will be appropriate".
Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had brokered a deal with Syria's ally Russian Federation to remove chemical stockpiles from the country, a strategy that also failed.
This latest chemical attack in Douma came days after Trump indicated a quick USA withdrawal from Syria after defeating the Islamic State group. The attack killed dozens of women and children.
Earlier this week, missiles were launched at the T-4 airbase in central Homs Governorate.
Syria, Iran and Russian Federation say Israel was behind an air strike on a Syrian air base on Monday that killed seven Iranian military personnel, something Israel has neither confirmed nor denied. Such a large-scale intervention would probably not be achieved by cruise missile strikes and fast jets alone. He warned that Russian Federation and the US will quickly find themselves in a major conflict if they allow a collision in Syria to happen.
Operations resumed at the air base just a couple days later.