Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Russian MP denies Assad's departure from Syria

Russian MP denies Assad's departure from Syria

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the Pentagon is ready to provide options for a Syria strike in response to the suspected chemical attack, but noted the US and its allies are still gathering information.

Trump caught most of his aides and the Pentagon off-guard on Wednesday by declaring on Twitter that "nice and new and "smart" missiles would soon be fired toward Syria - an announcement that came before an agreement had been reached between key USA allies, multiple American and Western officials said. Some 40,000 people, including thousands of rebels and their families, are leaving Douma for opposition areas in northern Syria under the agreement.

VideoEdward Djerejian, former USA ambassador to Syria, discusses President Trump's options in responding to the chemical weapon attack in Syria. "The president holds Syria and Russian Federation responsible for this chemical weapons attack".

On Thursday, however, he tweeted: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

President Donald Trump said Thursday that a possible USA attack on Syria could be "very soon or not so soon", seeking to inject a sense of uncertainty after suggesting a response was imminent to a suspected chemical attack by Bashar Assad's regime.

"Parliament should always be given a say on any military action", he told the BBC.

Vice President Mike Pence laughs as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a baseball bat as they attend a Made in America product showcase event at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in televised remarks that "we don't participate in Twitter diplomacy". "As before, we consider it important not to take steps that could destabilise an already fragile situation".

However, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to Trump's tweet saying: "Smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not [Syria's] lawful government, which has spent several years fighting against global terrorism on its territory". "I think the US has an obligation to lead an global response to hold people accountable for that", Ryan told reporters.

That one, which came after a warning from Russian Federation, went like this: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria". Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart!"

Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had brokered a deal with Syria's ally Russian Federation to remove chemical stockpiles from the country, a strategy that also failed.

Relations between Russia and the West have been steadily deteriorating over recent weeks due to Moscow's support for the Syrian government as well as the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy on British soil, which the West has blamed on Russia.

Trump suggested Monday he had little doubt that Syria was to blame, but neither he nor other administration officials have produced hard evidence.

US officials tell The Associated Press that the allies have weighed launching a military strike as early as the end of this week.

"Once again, all options are on the table", she said.

Syrian President Bashar Assad "and his enablers, Tehran and Moscow, have committed another mass atrocity".

While Trump's tweet did not disclose the exact date and time of a US missile strike, Assad's allies are lining up to back the Syrian regime. Syria denies the accusation.

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