Despite Trump Sabre-Rattling, No Decision On Syria Response


United States President Donald Trump warned Russian Federation yesterday of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected gas attack, declaring that missiles will be coming and lambasting Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Trump and other Western leaders have vowed a quick and forceful response to Saturday's alleged gas attack, which rescue workers say killed more than 40 people in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, reports AFP. Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'

"You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!", he tweeted on Wednesday.

Trump has laid blame for a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians earlier this week squarely at the feet of Assad and his ally Putin and said he would decide on a response soon.

The United States was actively collecting evidence on how Syria and Russian Federation were responding to U.S. threats, officials said, adding that Washington believed Syria and its allies were nearly certainly also moving personnel and military equipment - beyond just aircraft - into protective locations.

Trump's tweet could force military leaders to modify their analysis related to "targets, timing and teamwork", according to CNN military analyst John Kirby.

Despite his tweet of ostensible warning, the president asserted that any intervention in Syria will be stealthy.

"The US has to be very careful not to accidentally strike Russian targets or kill Russian advisors", Ben Connable, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, told AFP.

"The worldwide community will not allow chemical weapons to come back into our everyday life", she said. In a statement, she said: "The U.S. mission has not changed - the President has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible". He said there is "no reason for this", and said it would be very easy to improve ties, punctuating it curiously with "stop the arms race?"

"A perfectly executed strike last night", tweeted President Trump.

On Tuesday, Russia's ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin told Hezbollah's TV station Al Manar that if there was an American strike on Syria, they would be shot down and the launch sites would be targeted.

Trump said the targeted airstrikes were meant to deter a chemical weapons attack like the one that took place in Douma last weekend, killing dozens of people.

Gen. Dunford said one target in the strike was a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area - a center for research, development and testing of "chemical and biological warfare technology".

Dana W. White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman, said to her knowledge no one in the Defence Department communicated with Moscow in advance, other than the acknowledged use of a military-to-military hotline that has routinely helped minimise the risk of US-Russian collisions or confrontations in Syrian airspace.

He had repeatedly said he would not telegraph military moves towards foes. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said no more attacks were planned for now but threatened more strikes if the Syrian military used chemical weapons again.

However, warning of an imminent strike could force US military officials to modify their list of potential targets - which could range from airfields or chemical storage sites to locations in Assad's backyard of Damascus depending on the intended message. In the year since Trump's Tomahawk attack, Assad appears to have used poison gas, showing that a United States response has its limits.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in the Netherlands, announced it was sending a fact-finding team to the site of the attack outside Damascus, and it was due to arrive Saturday.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that France wants to launch a diplomatic initiative over Syria that would include Western powers, Russian Federation and Turkey.

The U.S. military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea, but the strike had little effect as the air base was up and running in just 24 hours.