Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Blood Samples Show Nerve Agent, Chlorine Used in Syria Attack

Blood Samples Show Nerve Agent, Chlorine Used in Syria Attack

US President Donald Trump cast doubt on Thursday over the timing of his threatened strike on Syria in response to a reported poison gas attack, while France said it had proof of Syria's guilt but needed to gather more information.

Asked to comment on possible USA strikes, Peskov said "it's necessary to avoid any steps that may fuel tensions in Syria". "No final decision has been made", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies".

Macron said he has been talking regularly this week with US President Donald Trump about the most effective response. "We need to know where that's going, what the objective of it is before we take that act".

Trump tweeted Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" and on Thursday tweeted that an attack "could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned such an attack carried the risk of spinning out of control, suggesting caution ahead of a decision on how to respond to an attack against civilians last weekend that USA officials are increasingly certain involved the use of banned chemical weapons.

Douma and the enclave of eastern Ghouta, just east of Damascus, was a significant rebel stronghold during Syria's civil war, now in its eighth year.

He did not say whether France is planning military action against Assad's government.

At a UN Security Council meeting US Ambassador Nikki Haley warns Washington is determined to "see that the monster who dropped chemical weapons on the Syrian people is held to account".

Asked about the possibility of war between the USA and Russia, Nebenzia said, "We can not exclude any possibilities, unfortunately, because we saw messages coming from Washington". They know we are there.

The U.S. and other nations have condemned Syria's apparent use of a poisonous gas to attack Douma's civilians, particularly as it occurred in an area that was supposed to have been off-limits to warplanes. "We expect this to be held next week", the mission said in a tweet. "We are not seeking escalation".

The remarks by Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed claims by French President Emmanuel Macron of "proof" that Syria used chemical weapons in the attack and a declaration that France will respond at a "time of our choosing".

The strike largely depleted the magazines of three U.S. Navy warships in the Mediterranean and even the U.S. does not have endless supplies of such weapons available in theater at short notice.

May has indicated she wants Britain to join in any US -led strikes in response to the attack in Douma.

"What we've got here in Syria is a choice between monsters on the one hand and maniacs on the other", Julian Lewis, the chairman of the House of Commons defence committee, told the BBC.

Reports of the alleged attack first emerged on Saturday, when rebel-allied groups said an apparent chemical attack killed up to 70 people. But he said he personally believes it was an "inexcusable" use of chemical weapons.

NBC News reported that the USA government had received blood and urine samples from the scene that tested positive for chemical weapons.

The OPCW said Thursday it will be on the ground investigating the suspected chemical attack beginning Saturday.

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