Syria chemical attack 'staged' with help of foreign secret service

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"We warned that such actions will not remain without consequences", the report said.

Independent chemical weapons inspectors are en route to the Eastern Ghouta area to look for evidence.

Lavrov said that "intelligence agencies of a state that is now striving to spearhead a Russo-phobic campaign were involved in that fabrication".

In the near term, the military strike appeared to ramp up a searing war of words between Washington and Moscow, which regarded the action as a attack on Russian Federation itself.

White Helmets first-responders and Syrian activists have claimed the suspected chemical attack was carried out by the Syrian government on April 7 and killed more than 40 people in Douma, allegations that drew global outrage and prompted the U.S. and its allies to consider a military response.

'We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom, or anywhere else in our world.

"They're cowardly political thugs", Klimov said of the United States administration.

Later on Saturday, the Syrian presidency posted a video that appeared to show President Bashar al-Assad arriving for work hours after the strike.

In France, Macron claimed in a TV interview he had "proof" that Assad's regime had used chemical weapons and vowed a response "in due course".

The Violations Documentation Centre, which records alleged violations of global law in Syria, said bodies were found with foam at the mouth, discoloured skin and burns to the eyes.

USA officials say blood samples provided by medical workers confirm the presence of chemicals.

"Our President has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria", Haley said.

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".

Antov added that it was not acceptable to insult Russia's president: "Insulting the President of Russian Federation is unacceptable and inadmissible".

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

In April past year Trump ordered Tomahawk strikes on the Shayrat Airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack on rebel-held Khan Sheikhun.

He also criticised the U.S. for "insulting" Putin, an apparent reference to Trump calling out his counterpart for his support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Trump, who has cancelled a planned trip overseas, has been canvassing support for strikes from the leaders of France and the UK.

After months of criticism that Trump was being soft on Putin, the USA president pulled no punches with a Tweet on Sunday: "President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad". It "could be very soon or not so soon at all", he said. "We are still far from that", Kortunov told ABC News. "The Americans and their allies did everything to make sure they didn't hit Russian units".

Also on Thursday, US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis told a congressional panel: "I believe there was a chemical attack and we are looking for the actual evidence".

He called the alleged chemical attack in Douma a scripted play.

"We're witnessing very risky developments in Syria", he said, adding U.S. policies are becoming a "threat to peace in the region and beyond".

Senior Russian figures, including the head of the military, warned that USA missiles will be shot down and their launch sites targeted if Russian personnel come under threat, the report said.

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