US President Donald Trump arrives to deliver a statement about missile strikes on a Syrian airfield, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, April 6, 2017.
Trump has, however, cast doubt on the timing of the possible military action, saying, “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place”.
Worries about a confrontation between Russia, Syria’s big ally, and the West have been running high since Trump said on Wednesday missiles “will be coming” in response to the attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7, and lambasted Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “I don’t know what to do”. “On a strategic level – is how do we keep this from escalating out of control”, he said.
“I’m not ready to speculate that that would happen”, Mattis said.
More practically, at the United Nations, Russia´s diplomats vetoed a USA motion to re-establish an global investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria that could have established blame.
However, in an increasingly complex conflict involving many foreign players, “Western strikes also risk playing into a regional war that is centred on Iran”, warned Julien Barnes-Dacey from the European Council on Foreign Relations in London.
Washington, Paris and London have nevertheless insisted that their own secret intelligence points to Assad’s guilt, and on Friday, a U.S. spokeswoman said they had “proof”.
He said that because the U.S. had no personnel at the site of the suspected chemical attack on Saturday, it has no hard evidence of what happened, although he personally believed it was an “inexcusable” use of chemical weapons. Khairullah is active with the Syrian American Council, a group that has called for the United States to destroy Assad’s air force to prevent more fly-over bombings.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert told a news conference on Friday that Damascus had a record of using chemical weapons and that there were “strong indications pointing towards the Syrian regime” in this case.
Asked about the risk of confrontation with Russian Federation, an ally of Syria, Khairullah said the United States should consider potential conflicts. “There’s enough verification that the Syrians dropped chemicals out of helicopters in barrels using the type of nerve agent that they like to use on their citizens and it’s a weapon of mass destruction”. British officials said up to 75 people were killed.
Under a 2013 US-Russia deal that averted US-led strikes, Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons stockpile and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) which bans the use of the toxic gases in warfare. Though the Syrian President and his Russian backers said the incident was caused by an aircraft colliding with chemical weapons on the ground, President Trump responded with military action. We’re trying to get people in there.
A joint US-British-French operation had been launched on Syria.
Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia responded that no one gave the United States or the West “the authority to act as gendarmes, policemen of the world”, and demanded that they “return to the legal fold”. That meant airstrikes, possibly in tandem with France and other allies that have expressed outrage at the alleged Syrian chemical attack, could be launched within hours of a presidential decision.
Russian Federation has demanded further investigation into the alleged chemical attack with foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying claims around the attack were fake and warning the West to carefully consider the consequences of their actions.
In the days between the attack in Douma and the US-led response, Washington and Moscow clashed repeatedly in duelling press statements and United States debates.
More practically, at the United Nations, Russia’s diplomats vetoed a USA motion to re-establish an global investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria that could have established blame.
Shanawani said it would be better “if they sit down and agree with each other and talk about it”.