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Syria Calls US Threats To Attack It 'Reckless'

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Carlos Barria  Reuters FILEPresident Donald Trump walks with Vice President Mike Pence in Washington Dec. 20 2017

Theresa May has summoned an emergency meeting of the Cabinet to discuss the crisis over Syria as Donald Trump signalled the United States was ready to launch air strikes against the regime of Bashar Assad.

The Syrian government said its invitation to the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog to send a fact-finding mission to the country is "proof" that Damascus is innocent and has not used chemical weapons.

"If they go unchecked", said Young, "it just emboldens those out there who are nefarious and evil, to keep doing these things, and keep pushing the line". A senior Russian lawmaker said Wednesday that Russia would engage its warships in the Mediterranean Sea to protect Russian assets in Syria from a USA strike.

Soon after the tweets, Russia's foreign ministry said that "smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not legal government".

Russian lawmakers have warned the United States that Moscow would view an airstrike on Syria as a war crime and that it could trigger a direct U.S-Russian military clash.

Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser, said Iran has "an open issue with us" over the air base strike.

Shortly after his tweeted warning to Russia, Trump took a more conciliatory tone in lamenting that the U.S. -Russia relationship "is worse now than it has ever been".

The attack in Douma happened late on Saturday amid a resumed offensive by Syrian government forces after the collapse of a truce with the Army of Islam rebel group.

It comes nearly exactly a year after a chemical attack in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun killed dozens of people.

Trump was reacting to a warning from Russian Federation that any United States missiles fired at Syria over the deadly assault on a rebel enclave near Damascus would be shot down and the launch sites targeted. Wednesday's statement is also notable because Trump has criticized his predecessors for publicly telegraphing USA military action.

BBC reported later on Wednesday that May was ready to confirm military intervention into Syria and no parliamentary approval would be required, whil the Daily Telegraph said that the prime minister ordered British submarines to move within missile range of Syria in readiness for strikes against Assad regime forces that could begin as early as Thursday night.

The U.S. has more than 2,000 troops in Syria, and the U.S. -led coalition has launched thousands of airstrikes against the country. The tweet was followed by another one, urging Moscow to stop what he described as an "arms race".

French President Emmanuel Macron said a decision on a possible strike would be made "in the coming days".

An even more threatening situation may evolve if the US and its allies use manned aircraft, and the Russian strike results in casualties.

Zasypkin also said a clash between Russian Federation and the United States over Syria "should be ruled out and therefore we are ready to hold negotiations".

Macron, asked whether France would take military action, said his country would continue discussing technical and strategic information with USA and British allies and "in the coming days we will announce our decision".

But many of Syria's most sensitive military facilities are protected by Russian missile defense systems or are located at bases where Russian, Iranian and Syrian personnel cohabit.

A Kremlin spokesman has said claims of a chemical weapons attack were fabricated.

The EASA cited a risk of "intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment" for commercial flights in the region in case of military action.

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