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Trump talks with allies as he weighs Syria strike decision

Trump talks with allies as he weighs Syria strike decision

He said that because the USA had no personnel at the site of the suspected chemical attack, it has no hard evidence of what happened, although he personally believed it was an "inexcusable" use of chemical weapons. British officials said up to 75 people were killed.

Japan plans to avoid expressing direct support for actual USA military action against Syria, in an attempt to avoid damaging negotiations with Russian Federation over a decades-long territorial row, government sources said Thursday.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Mr Trump would continue to assess intelligence and engage with allies.

"We have not yet made any decision to launch military attacks into Syria", Mattis told lawmakers on the House Armed Services committee.

Addressing the Security Council, Haley laid out Washington's case for resorting to force, challenging Russia's claim that military action would be in violation of global law.

On the ground in Syria, rebels in Eastern Ghouta surrendered their heavy weapons and their leader left the enclave, signalling the end of one of the bloodiest assaults of the seven-year war and a major win for the Assad regime.

Blood and urine samples from victims of the attack have tested positive for chlorine and an unknown nerve agent, NBC News reports.

That assessment appeared to echo French President Emmanuel Macron who said they had "proof" that "at least chlorine" was used in the attack by the regime. Trump said Thursday on Twitter.

Formally, the prime minister has the right to go to war without approval from parliament, but a convention has been established in previous conflicts where MPs have a vote either before or shortly after military action begins. Asked if France is planning to participate in retaliatory attacks on Syria, he was noncommittal.

Earlier in the day, Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian ambassador to the U.S., said in NY that two investigating teams from the OPCW were scheduled to arrive in Syria within the next 24 hours.

"On a strategic level, it's how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that", he said.

The U.S. stance on striking Syria is no clearer, even after President Trump tweeted that missiles "will be coming".

"Until we have a more long-term strategy, until we have some idea where we're going in Syria and the Middle East, it seems unwise, to me, to start launching missiles", said Smith, D-Wash. "Not to react is to prove to the rest of the world that what we say does not matter".

Russian lawmakers have warned the United States that Moscow would view an airstrike on Syria as a war crime and that it could trigger a direct U.S-Russian military clash.

Trump has claimed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's administration has used chemical weapons.

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


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