Syrian troops on alert amid fear of U.S. strike after attack

Reuters

His comments came exactly a year and a day after the U.S. fired cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in retaliation for a deadly sarin gas attack in 2017. It said the missiles were launched at the T4 air base, in central Homs Governorate.

The alleged attack on Saturday killed 40 in the rebel-held town of Douma, multiple opposition and rescue groups including told The Associated Press, which was unable to independently verify the reports.

Douma is the last remaining opposition-held town in Eastern Ghouta, once the rebels' main bastion outside Damascus but now ravaged by a seven-week regime assault.

"Through the relevant channels we already conveyed to the USA that armed force under mendacious pretext against Syria - where, at the request of the legitimate government of a country, Russian troops have been deployed - could lead to grave repercussions", he said.

The foreign ministry in Moscow also says in a statement on its website that allegations of the chemical attack are "fabricated", suggesting the claims were invented by rebel forces and the Syrian Civil Defense known as the White Helmets.

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Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron "agreed to exchange information on the nature of the attacks and coordinate a strong, joint response", the White House said in statement on their phone call. Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran's supreme leader, spoke upon arrival in the Syrian capital on Tuesday, and was quoted by Iran's state-run news agency IRNA.

Then, within days the U.S. military fired cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield where the sarin attack had been launched from.

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria", he wrote in the first of three tweets. That attack was widely blamed on government forces, who denied responsibility.

"The U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Washington "will respond" to the attack regardless of whether the U.N. Security Council acts".

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday he is outraged by the reported attack, and that the use of chemical weapons would be a violation of worldwide law.

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The attack appears to have brought Assad closer to sealing victory in the military campaign for eastern Ghouta launched by the Russian-backed Syrian army in February.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday accused Russian Federation of falling short on its obligations to ensure that Syria abandoned its chemical weapons capabilities.

The UN Security Council has called an emergency meeting for Monday to discuss the incident amid worldwide outrage over the alleged used of poison gas.

Speaking at a meeting with USA military advisers late on April 9, Trump said, "we're making a decision as to what we do with respect to the terrible attack that was made near Damascus.and it will be met forcefully". "However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable".

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