President Donald Trump and his national security aides on Thursday discussed USA options on Syria, where he has threatened missile strikes in response to a suspected poison gas attack, as a Russian envoy voiced fears of wider conflict between Washington and Moscow.
At stake in Syria is the potential for confrontation, if not outright conflict, between the US and Russian Federation, former Cold War foes whose relations have deteriorated in recent years over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a brief statement after Trump met with Mattis and other members of his National Security Council: "No final decision has been made".
U.S. President Donald Trump announced Friday night that the three allies had launched military strikes to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for alleged chemical weapons use and to prevent him from doing it again.
The US State Department said the United States has proof at "a very high level of confidence" that the Syrian government carried out the attack but is still working to identify the mix of chemicals used.
Russian Federation recently stated "it would certainly react to any sort of United States missiles shot on Syria by shooting all of them down" and even "targeting their launch locations".
Asked about the risks of USA military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties.
The draft legislation would give authorities the power to impose bans or restrictions in multiple areas of trade with the United States if they deemed that Washington was threatening Russia's interests.
Konashenkov released statements he said came from medics at Douma's hospital, saying a group of people toting video cameras entered the hospital, shouting that its patients were struck with chemical weapons, dousing them with water and causing panic.
Neither the Kremlin nor the Russian government has said if they back the measures, and it was not clear if it would become law in its current form. Syria and its main ally Russian Federation deny a chemical attack took place. "I hope no one would dare to launch such an adventure now", Lavrov said. United States officials noted that Washington was still assessing intelligence and coordinating allies.
May recalled ministers from their Easter holiday to debate action over what she has cast as a barbaric poison gas attack by Syrian government forces on civilians in the formerly rebel-controlled town of Douma, just east of the capital Damascus.
These strikes could potentially draw the United States deeper into the Syrian conflict when Trump has been publicly eager to pull out most of the 2,000 U.S. troops deployed in Syria to fight the Islamic States.
"Washington has adopted a categorical policy to unleash a military scenario against Syria", the Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vasilly Nebenzia, told the council.
Later, speaking at the meeting, called by Russian Federation to discuss the prospect of an American strike on Syria, Haley said, "This meeting should not be about so-called 'unilateral threats, ' it should be about the multiple actions Russian Federation has taken to bring us to this point".
Moscow is estimated to have dozens of aircraft at its Hmeymim air base in Syria including fighters and bombers, as well as 10 to 15 warships and support vessels in the Mediterranean. A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the U.S.in the lead, could send a message of global unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons.
According to a statement by the French presidency, Macron called for dialogue between France and Russian Federation to "continue and intensify" to bring peace and stability to Syria. A U.S. guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean.