United Nations warns against letting Syria crisis 'spiral' out of control

Sergio Conner
April 15, 2018

Earlier, the US President Donald Trump has tweeted that Russian Federation should "get ready" for the firing of missiles at Syria as the US continues to affirm that the Syrian government was behind an alleged chemical attack on Saturday.

Oil prices jumped to their highest level in more than three years on Wednesday after Trump's warning, and US stock index futures fell sharply due to alarm about a possible Russian-US conflict over Syria.

In Moscow, the head of a Russian parliamentary defense committee, Vladimir Shamanov, said Russia was in direct contact with the US Joint Chiefs of Staff about the situation. Trump canceled a foreign trip in order to manage a crisis that is testing his vow to stand up to Assad.

The Syrian government has not made an official announcement on the matter, but if confirmed, the developments would mark the last stage of the Syrian government's takeover of the significant rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta.

Global observers with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have yet to reach the Damascus suburb of Douma, where the attack took place.

Russian Federation vetoed a US-drafted resolution on setting up a panel to identify the perpetrators of toxic gas attacks after chemical weapons were allegedly used in the rebel-held town of Douma. The Syrian government has denied any involvement in launching the chemical attack.

They have documented 34 chemical weapons attacks in Syria since 2013, including 26 which they attribute to Syrian government forces, the most recent one on the Harasta frontline in eastern Ghouta in Nov 2017.

"This is posturing. This action has no sense at all, save the one: to show that Trump is a strong president, that he remains the leader of a free world".

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In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May summoned her Cabinet back from vacation Thursday to discuss military action against Syria.

Activists, rescue workers and medics say dozens of people died in the rebel-held town of Douma on Saturday.

The US president, whose military would nearly certainly provide most of the intelligence and weaponry, has called for withdrawing US forces globally but also for hitting enemies hard.

Senior Russian lawmaker, Alexei Kondratyev, a deputy head of the upper house's defense committee, on Wednesday said that warships would be engaged in the Mediterranean Sea to protect Russian assets in Syria from a possible U.S. strike.

Russia, which backs Mr Assad, has softened its initial threats to retaliate against United States ships and bases in event of an attack.

It appears the British Parliament will not be consulted ahead of the United Kingdom action - which could potentially start within hours of Cabinet approval. But on Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

Activists reported that government forces vacated strategic potential targets, including air bases around the country in apparent preparation for incoming strikes.

Cafarella said the United States must decide how far it wants to go in terms of hitting Iranian proxy forces near USA positions in eastern Syria, or even targeting Russian-supported facilities. A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the U.S.in the lead, could send a message of worldwide unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons and counter Syria's political and military support from Russian Federation and Iran. "Not to react is to prove to the rest of the world that what we say does not matter".

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