Russia: Syria chemical attack staged by foreign agents

039;We can resolve all issues by picking up the phone' – Russia's FM spokesperson on Syria standoff

The United States, Britain and France launched strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack after mulling military action for almost a week.

Speaking to congress at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Mattis said he believed a chemical attack had taken place and blamed Russian Federation for being complicit in Syrian government's possession of chemical weapons.

The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs.

State news agency SANA lambasted the US-led strikes as a breach of global law and said the attack had targeted army depots in the Homs area. "But for the attacks to happen in this way at this particular time - it's taken Damascus by surprise".

Syrian state TV said the US, UK and France had launched attacks and said anti-aircraft units had responded.

Russian Federation has warned the West against attacking Assad, who is also supported by Iran, and says there is no evidence of a chemical attack in Douma, a town near Damascus which had been held by rebels until this month.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties due to the attack.

In Douma, last Saturday a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror.

"We are watching what Russians do in the next 24 hours", the official said, adding that there will be intelligence collection to see what Russians are up to in the wake of the strikes, such as turning on their systems or talking about retaliating.

And he set his own precedent just over a year ago when he ordered a cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base after sarin was sacked at civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhun.

Trump indicated the strikes would continue until the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons ends.

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Dunford said the US used its regular communication channels with the Russians to inform them about the USA aircraft, but did not warn the Russians about the targets.

The President said the USA strikes on Syria, were launched in concert with British, French allies. The limited armaments left the rebel fighters always at a disadvantage, while radical Jihadi groups found their way to Syria, including militants from the Islamic State group. Some stocked up on food and prepared underground shelters while others taunted the USA president to go through with his threats.

"America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria", he said, thanking the United Kingdom and France for joining the U.S. in its fight against the Syrian regime.

The speed with which we are acting is essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.

Trump also called out Russia's promise in 2013 that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons.

"To Iran and Russian Federation I ask, what kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?" "No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states ... and murderous dictators". "They are crimes of a monster instead".

The OPCW has sent experts to the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma.

U.S. officials said that ship-launched missiles and planes were involved in the attacks, and British officials said that missiles launched from GR4 Tornados warplanes had hit a plant near Homs believed to be used for precursors for making chemical weapons.

The debate about when, or whether, to strike in Syria follows Trump's surprise promise earlier this month to withdraw US forces from Syria "very soon".

They agreed to "keep working closely" on the issue, Mrs May's office said in a statement.

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