With Russia on his mind, Trump looks for tougher approach on Syria

With Russia on his mind, Trump looks for tougher approach on Syria

"This is grotesque, it is a blatant lie, it is the worst piece of fake news we've yet seen from the Russian propaganda machine", said Britain's United Nations ambassador Karen Pierce.

None of the missiles fired by the United States and its allies were routed through the Russian air defense zone in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Saturday, after multinational forces hammered select targets in Syria.

President Bashar al-Assad's government - which receives military backing from Russian Federation - has denied involvement in any chemical attack, calling the reports "fabricated".

"We are confident that we have crippled Syria's chemical weapons programme".

Moscow said none of the missiles hit its Hmeimim airbase or its naval facility at Tartus adding that it did not activate its own sophisticated air defence systems. Russia's defence ministry was set to hold a briefing for journalists at around 12300 IST.

"If there is a USA missile attack, we - in line with both Putin and Russia's chief of staff's remarks - will shoot down USA rockets and even the sources that launched the missiles", Zasypkin told al Manar.

During a phone call late on Thursday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump agreed on the need to deter chemical weapon use in Syria.

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But both Dunford and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis stressed that strikes were not meant to pull America deeper into Syria's war.

Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said that the US, British and French airstrikes will not be left without consequences.

Analyst Alexey Malashenko, a specialist in the Syria conflict, told AFP that military retaliation would be highly risky for Russian Federation and Moscow appeared to be choosing a war of words instead. He said Moscow has "irrefutable information that it was a 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.

The measure - proposed by Russia, a key Syria ally - only got three votes: Russia, China and Bolivia.

Inside the briefing room laden with chandeliers, parquetry floors and gilded oil paintings, Ambassador Yakovenko outlined his concern about the dual crisis that have plunged Western relations with Russian Federation to lows not seen since the Cold War this week to the world's press. It also said Russian officers found no patients with chemical attack symptoms at a local hospital, and no indication of any burials having taken place of the victims. Syria's civil war, which began as a popular uprising against Assad, is now in its eighth year.

He later told reporters at the White House: "We're having a meeting today on Syria".

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