'Russia may have tampered with chemical attack site'

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The Russian military has claimed an alleged chemical attack in Syria was staged and directed by Britain.

The World Health Organization said that 43 people had died in Saturday's attack on Douma from "symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals", and more than 500 in all had been treated.

The air strikes, however, risk dragging the United States further into Syria's civil war, particularly if Russia, Iran and Ass opt to retaliate.

Later, a White House briefing on a call between Trump and May said that they "continued their discussion of the need for a joint response to Syria's use of chemical weapons".

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway said the "Russian accusations seeking to shift blame away from the Assad regime for the April 7 chemical attack have no basis in fact and are typical of Russian disinformation efforts".

Our specialists visited the area of the alleged use of chlorine and other toxic substances and have sufficient evidence to show that it was only a dramatization of an attack, denounced Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The western strikes on Syria are "unacceptable and lawless", according to Russia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey Lavrov.

"Just deterring this act with a few airstrikes and not looking at the consequences for Syria wouldn't be a fully fleshed-out action", said another senior administration official.

Meanwhile President Donald Trump has put off a final decision on possible military strikes against Syria after tweeting earlier that they could happen "very soon or not so soon at all".

"Whether an end user, private firm or device designer, there are straightforward measure we can take to make sure we get network security right, which includes building devices from the ground up to be secure by design because we have seen in this case default passwords and unsecured devices being exploited", he said.

The OPCW's report confirmed British findings that the Skripals were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent, but didn't say who was responsible. "Russian Federation can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover-ups", Haley said.

The full scope and impact of the operation is not fully known, and White House and DHS officials said they were releasing the information now in the hopes that businesses and other affected entities come forward if they have witnessed similar suspicious activity.

The U.N. chief told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council Friday called by Russian Federation that the highly volatile situation risks "escalation, fragmentation and division as far as the eye can see with profound regional and global ramifications". The government, however, said evacuations from Douma were continuing and no Syrian government forces had entered the town.

Douma and the sprawling eastern Ghouta region near the capital, Damascus, had been under rebel control since 2012 and was a thorn in the side of President Bashar Assad's government, threatening his seat of power with missiles and potential advances for years.

The capture of Douma has clinched a major victory for Assad, crushing what was once a centre of the insurgency near Damascus, and underlines his unassailable position in the war.

The Syrian government and its allies have absorbed a US-led attack, and the targeted sites were evacuated days ago thanks to a warning from Russian Federation, a senior official in a regional alliance that backs Damascus said.

He noted that the Russian and US militaries have a hotline to prevent incidents, adding that it's not clear if it would be sufficient amid mounting tensions.

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