Allies strike Syria in response to chemical weapon attacks; Russian Federation promises 'consequences'

Haley says Russia chose'protecting a monster over Syrian people

Russian Federation has always been an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

There was no word from Putin himself, though Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was in contact with Washington to discuss an atmosphere which he described as alarming.

In a televised address from the White House, Trump said he had ordered US armed forces to launch "precision strikes" associated with Assad's chemical weapons capabilities.

The chairman of the worldwide affairs committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, said the strikes were a violation of worldwide law and probably created to prevent investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog from doing their work.

A second US official said targets were being carefully selected with the aim of damaging Assad's ability to conduct further gas attacks, while avoiding the risk of spreading poisonous fallout in civilian areas.

"God forbid anything adventurous will be done in Syria following the Libyan and Iraqi experience", he told a news conference yesterday.

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

"We expect the mission to go without any delay to Douma where Russian specialists who examined this place have not found any confirmations of the use of chemical weapons", he said.

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Iran-backed Hezbollah, which has an extensive missile arsenal, last fought a war with Israel in 2006. Russia , another major supporter of the Assad regime, has also denounced the US -led airstrikes.

It said the attack was a flagrant violation of worldwide rules and regulations and ignores Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Moscow's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia asserted that the immediate priority is to avert a war. He said that the strikes would continue until "the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents".

She told the council that President Donald Trump "has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria, but should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree".

Saturday's calibrated response in Moscow to the US airstrike against a key Middle Eastern ally illustrated in stark terms the Kremlin's balancing act as it pushes to expand its influence overseas but seeks to maintain control over how far tensions rise.

Amid heightened tensions over the threat of airstrikes, Russian defence ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov yesterday said Britain was "directly involved in the provocation".

However, Russia's ambassador to the United States has warned that there would be grave consequences for the attacks. "The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep", he said.

He said "very soon France will launch new political initiatives".

Haley, who said she would be heading to Washington for meetings later Friday, added that the National Security Council has been cautious and methodical about a decision to retaliate over the attack on the last rebel-held stronghold in Syria, which left at least 49 dead.

A team of inspectors from the OPCW arrived in Syria on Thursday and Friday and had been expected to start their investigation into the alleged Douma attack on Saturday. Syria's civil war, which began as a popular uprising against Assad, is now in its eighth year. "No other group" could have carried out that attack, May said, adding that the allies' use of force was "right and legal".

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