Economy

Russia accuses Israel of 'worsening instability in Syria'

Russia accuses Israel of 'worsening instability in Syria'

President Donald Trump and his national security aides on Thursday discussed U.S. options on Syria, where he has threatened missile strikes in response to a suspected poison gas attack, as a Russian envoy voiced fears of wider conflict between Washington and Moscow.

The United States is consulting with Britain and France about a joint military response to the attack in Douma that medics and rescuers said left at least 40 people dead on Saturday. Russia, which is helping Assad fight rebel forces opposed to his rule, immediately condemned the strikes and called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

There were signs, though, of a global effort to head off a risky conflict pitting Russian Federation against the West.

Trump's latest tweets came hours after the Kremlin said a crisis communications link is being used by both sides to avoid the possibility of clashes over Syria.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany won't participate in possible military action in Syria, but supports sending a message that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.

Tensions have been mounting over possible USA air attacks on the country after a chemical attack on Saturday on Douma, Eastern Ghouta, which killed scores of people and seriously affected hundreds more.

On the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma where an estimated 70 people died, he said Russian security services "did not find any traces of chemical substances".

"The raising of a regime flag over a building in the town of Douma signified control over this town and consequently over Eastern Ghouta as a whole", Major General Yury Yevtushenko was quoted as saying Thursday by the Interfax news agency. The White House has stopped calling for Assad's ouster, while the US military is racing to defeat remnants of the Islamic State before it is required to withdraw the 2,000 USA troops there.

"We are very concerned about the decision of the cabinet to "take action" in Syria", Mr Yakovenko said.

Syrian President Bashar Assad says Western threats to strike his country after a suspected chemical attack are based on "lies" and seek to undermine his forces' recent advances near Damascus.

World stocks edged down as anxious investors stayed wary of risky assets.

Defense Secretary Mattis, however, indicated that evidence of what happened was still being studied.

Asked if he had seen enough evidence to blame the Syrian president, Mattis said: "We're still working on this".

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When asked if he was referring to a war between the United States and Russian Federation, he said, "We can not exclude any possibilities, unfortunately, because we saw messages that are coming from Washington".

The strikes were over by the time Mattis and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Joseph Dunford appeared before reporters at the Pentagon to share the first details, which had been telegraphed by the United States president days before.

Media captionThe US president has said "nothing's off the table" - so what options are on the table?

Any US strike would probably involve the Navy, given the risk to aircraft from Russian and Syrian air defenses. A United States guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean.

"A perfectly executed strike", President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday in the aftermath of his second decision in two years to fire missiles against Syria.

The Syrian conflict has increasingly widened the rifts between Moscow, Washington and European powers and inflamed the bitter rivalries that run across the Middle East.

Addressing new ambassadors in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin said he hoped common sense would prevail and that the situation would stabilise.

But Guterres said Syria today is the most serious, and "there is no military solution to the conflict".

Trump on Wednesday had warned Russian Federation to "get ready" for a missile attack on its ally Syria.

Parliament voted down British military action against Assad's government in 2013 in an embarrassment for May's predecessor, David Cameron.

Zakharova called for de-escalating the situation, urging the West to carefully weigh the consequences before taking any action.

An extraordinary meeting of the Council of the State Duma, which will consider the draft federal law "On measures of influence (counteraction) to unfriendly actions of the United States and (or) other foreign states", its to take place on April 16.