WASHINGTON:, APR 11,
After Russian issued warnings to the U.S. against military strikes in Syria, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that missiles “will be coming” in response to Syria’s suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40 people.
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria,”” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
Mr. Trump did not detail what a strike would look like, or whether these would be U.S. missiles. The tweet came as Trump administration officials have consulted with global allies on a possible joint military response to Syria’s alleged poison gas attack. Mr. Trump canceled a foreign trip in order to manage a crisis that is testing his vow to stand up to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Russia will see it as war crime
Russian lawmakers have warned the United States that Moscow would view an airstrike on Syria as a war crime, saying it could trigger a direct military clash between the two former Cold War adversaries.
Russia’s Ambassador to Lebanon said any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launching sites targeted a stark warning of a potential major confrontation in Syria.
The U.S., France and Britain were in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as the end of this week, U.S. officials have said. None of the three countries’ leaders had made a firm decision, according to the officials.
A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the U.S. in the lead, could send a message of international unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons and counter Syria’s political and military support from Russia and Iran.
France, US and UK will decide: Macron
President Emmanuel Macron said France, the U.S. and Britain will decide how to respond in the coming days.
He called for a “strong and joint response” to the attack in the Syrian town of Douma on Saturday, which Syrian activists and rescuers say killed 40 people. The Syrian government denies responsibility.
The French President does not need parliamentary permission to launch a military operation. France is already involved in the U.S.-led coalition created in 2014 to fight the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq. Multiple IS attacks have targeted French soil, including one last month.
Mr. Trump suggested Monday he had little doubt that Syrian government forces were to blame for what he said was a chemical attack, but neither he nor other administration officials have produced hard evidence. Officials suggested such evidence was lacking, or at least not yet at hand. This is in contrast to an incident one year ago in which U.S. intelligence agencies had video and other evidence of certain aspects of the actual attack, which involved the use of Sarin gas. Mr. Trump responded by launching Navy cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield.