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USA vows to act within 48 hours over suspected Syrian chemical attack

USA vows to act within 48 hours over suspected Syrian chemical attack

US President Donald Trump warned of a "big price to pay" after the initial reports of the poison gas attack, although the Syrian government and its main ally Russian Federation have denied involvement.

"Russia will inevitably veto the USA resolution criticising Assad, and Washington will use this to justify military strikes", he said.

Washington and Moscow set out starkly different positions at a stormy emergency session at the UN Security Council, where Russia's ambassador Vassily Nebenzia warned that the possibility of United States military action was "very, very risky". We have reached the moment when the world must see justice done.

Saturday's suspected poison gas attack unfolded in a rebel-held town near Damascus amid a resumed offensive by Syrian government forces after the collapse of a truce. History will record this as the moment when the Security Council either discharged its duty or demonstrated its utter and complete failure to protect the people of Syria. Pressed Monday on whether those plans still stand, Trump simply told reporters: "We're gonna make a decision on all of that, in particular Syria, we'll be making that decision very quickly, probably by the end of today".

After President Donald Trump warned on Monday that there would be a "big price to pay" for the suspected attack over the weekend, the United States circulated to the 15-member council a revised draft resolution to establish an global inquiry, which it initially suggested on 1 March.

"It's necessary to examine very carefully what happened in Douma".

On Sunday, Trump, criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin by name on Twitter as he castigated Russia and Iran for backing "Animal Assad".

The decision Monday on how to respond comes on John Bolton's first day as White House national security adviser.

The poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with what the British government says was a military-grade Novichok nerve agent of a type developed by Russia led to the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats by Western allies, to which Moscow responded in kind.




After a similar attack a year ago, Trump ordered the firing of scores of cruise missiles at Syrian forces. He added: "Everybody's gonna pay a price".

Officials in Washington were seeking to verify early reports by rescuers and others that the Assad government was culpable.

Syrian state media has denied the government had any involvement in the suspected attack.

As the United Nations debate took place, a huge blast tore through a multi-story building in the jihadist-held city of Idlib, in northern Syria.

At least 14 fighters, including Iranians, were killed in the strike on the T-4 airbase, according to the monitoring organisation the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Trump is faced again with the choice of conducting a limited strike that might not even deter Assad from future chemical attacks or a wider response that risks drawing the US deeper into a global conflict.

Sunday night, almost a year later to the day, Israeli warplanes launched missiles at targets within Syrian borders, the Russian and Syrian governments have said, calling that use of force "unacceptable". That the attack comes at a time when a possible deal was being brokered by Russian Federation between Assad's government and the rebels means that violence, in all likelihood, will continue.

Regime forces walk along a destroyed street in the former rebel-held town of Jobar in Eastern Ghouta on April 2, 2018.

Syria's state news agency SANA initially said Monday's the attack on the T4 air base was likely "an American aggression", but Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood quickly denied the United States was behind the strike and the agency then dropped the accusation, blaming Israel instead.

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