Western powers at United Nations make case for military action against Syria

U.S. Navy sailors man the rails aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook as the ship departs Larnaca Cyprus

"We call upon. members of the worldwide community to seriously consider the possible consequences of such accusations, threats and especially action (against Syria)", Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

What seems to be delaying that decision is the fear a strike could spark a much bigger war than anyone wants.

By supporting Assad, Russia's actions are "prejudicial to our security" and will let the Islamic State group "re-establish itself" - something that "we believe we need to take action to defend", said Pierce.

The worry of Russian retaliation is real and there still appears to be an idea to punish Syria.

Videos and photos from the site of the attack, along with witness testimony contradicted that, and on Thursday, the US reportedly received physical evidence.

The Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis has made it clear he has significant concerns over the unforeseen consequences of a strike on Syria. He said he has been talking regularly this week with U.S. President Donald Trump about the most effective response. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!", the President tweeted.

In the call, the two leaders had agreed that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "had established a pattern of risky behaviour in relation to the use of chemical weapons", Downing Street said.

Russia's ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkinhad, warned they would shoot down U.S. rockets and "even the sources that launched the missiles" - suggesting they could hit American aircraft or warships.

A UN-led panel has determined that Assad's forces had used sarin in the town of Khan Sheikhun last yaer and chlorine in at least three attacks on villages in 2014 and 2015.




Tokyo issued a similar response in April previous year when the United States conducted a missile strike on a Syrian air base that was the alleged source of a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians. Trump tweeted Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" and on Thursday tweeted that an attack "could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

Macron did not specify whether France is planning military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

He said: "Parliament must be consulted on this".

Officials also said that the USA has compiled intelligence from the US and other countries, including images, that indicate the Syrian government was behind the weekend attack.

The U.S., France and Britain have been consulting about launching a military strike.

Some MPs have backed Britain acting against Syria, warning that the use of chemical weapons was in breach of worldwide law and could not be allowed to go unpunished.

"And, I would simply say to the Prime Minister: be very careful, because you do not have a majority in Parliament".

"Cabinet agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime", a spokeswoman for the prime minister said in a statement after the meeting. The Syrian government has denied the allegations.

French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that the country had "proof" the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Douma and would support any United States action.

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