Trump warns Russia: Missiles 'will be coming' to Syria

The Memo Syria debate exposes fissures in Trump's circle

Mattis also ignored a question about whether he was concerned about telegraphing USA military moves in Syria, a question appearing to refer to Trump's earlier tweet on Wednesday.

At stake in Syria is the potential for confrontation, if not outright conflict, between the US and Russian Federation, former Cold War foes whose relations have deteriorated in recent years over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and, most recently, its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The United States was actively collecting evidence on how Syria and Russian Federation were responding to USA 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.

"A perfectly executed strike", Trump tweeted after U.S., French and British warplanes and ships launched more than 100 missiles almost unopposed by Syrian air defenses.

"If anything, the opposite is true: By setting these red lines and devising very narrow punishments for violating them, we essentially communicate to the regime what our priorities are and also our threshold for risk and level of interest in the broader Syrian war", Itani said.

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

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday the U.S. has an obligation to lead an global response to the attack, and that Trump has the authority to use military force.


Trump said earlier this month - before the weekend's suspected chemical attack on civilians at the hands of the Assad regime - that he wanted to withdraw United States troops from Syria.

As tensions mounted over a face-off with Damascus-ally Russian Federation, opponents of unilateral U.S. action called an emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council for Thursday. At a photo-taking session during a Pentagon meeting with his Dutch counterpart, Mattis was asked by a reporter whether he had seen enough evidence to blame the Syrian government.

Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons. Bush addressed sailors aboard a Navy ship in May 2003 alongside a "Mission Accomplished" banner, just weeks before it became apparent that Iraqis had organized an insurgency that tied down USA forces for years. US officials have been consulting with France, Britain and other allies on a possible joint military operation, but the timing remained in doubt Wednesday.

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 US says "all options are on the table" in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, as Western leaders continue to weigh up military action. France is already involved in the US -led coalition created in 2014 to fight the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

Meanwhile, Moscow said the formerly rebel-held district of Eastern Ghouta - including Douma, the target of Saturday's attack - had been "totally stabilized" and would soon be patrolled by Russian military police.

But British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was little doubt the Syrian government used a barrel bomb - large containers packed with fuel, explosives and scraps of metal - to deliver the chemicals at Douma. Multiple IS terror attacks have targeted France, including one last month.

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