Russian Federation says the western strikes on Syria are 'unacceptable and lawless'

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In the wake of last weekend's gruesome attack, some USA officials advocated a larger, and therefore riskier, strike than the limited action Trump ordered in April 2017, also in response to suspected chemical weapons use.

The attacking air force did not enter Syrian air space but fired from offshore over the Mediterranean Sea close to the Syrian border and after flying over Lebanon, the Russian military said.

Haley, who said she would be heading to Washington for meetings later Friday, added that the National Security Council has been cautious and methodical about a decision to retaliate over the attack on the last rebel-held stronghold in Syria, which left at least 49 dead.

"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented", Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said on Twitter.

In his televised address from the White House on Friday evening, Trump said the USA was prepared to sustain economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until the Syrian leader ends what Trump called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that the USA and its allies - France, Germany and the United Kingdom - should "seriously consider" the consequences of their threats to launch military action in response to an alleged chemical attack carried out on Saturday in Douma, eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to launch a missile attack on Syria over an alleged chemical weapon attack by the Syrian government, although the accusation was strongly denied by the latter. But on Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

The United States on Friday blamed the Syrian government for a deadly chemical weapons attack this month and slammed Russian Federation for failing to stop its ally, President Bashar al-Assad, as U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to weigh a forceful military response.

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Simultaneously, France's Leader Emmanuel Macron was quoted stating he has in his possession "proof" that "Syrian authorities targeted private citizens inside Douma using chemical substance weapons" recently.

A member of Syria's pro-government forces walks past damaged structures in the town of Mudyara, formerly held by opposition groups, in the center of the eastern Ghouta region as regime troops carry on with their assault on the rebel-held enclave, just outside the capital Damascus. The statement said none of the patients had any symptoms of chemical poisoning.

"A large volume of high-resolution, reliable photos and video from Duma clearly document victims suffering from asphyxiation and foaming at the mouth, with no visible signs of external wounds", the White House said in a statement Friday.

Sputnik: I just want to ask your opinion on the legality of this, of carrying out missiles strikes in terms of worldwide law.

The answer, for now at least, is that Russian Federation has not activated a response, although that may soon change.

Alexey Malashenko, a specialist in the Syria conflict, said Washington and Moscow were more likely to remain engaged in a war of words.

This was playing with fire after Russia - Syria's strongest ally - had warned that a missile attack would be met with force by Moscow, raising fears of a straight fight between the United States and Russia.

Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma's defense committee, said Trump "can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time - because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union".

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The American president also criticized Russian Federation for its support of Syrian leader Bashar Assad, saying "you shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!'"

"Moscow understands that a strike (against United States forces) will bring about a response and it is not certain that Russian Federation will emerge victorious from such a conflict", he told AFP.

With Donald Trump weighing strikes on Syria but Moscow warning of "grave repercussions" to any military action, an escalation seems increasingly likely even as analysts play down a direct clash between Russian Federation and the US. He talked, I believe, the day before yesterday with President Putin.

The Russian military said its chemical experts visited Douma shortly after the alleged attack and found no trace of chemical agents in ground samples.

The strategy that unfolded this week included a deception in which Navy warships were maneuvered to persuade the Russians - falsely - that the ships would take part in a strike, the official said.

"Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation", tweeted Trump, who has been accused of being overly indulgent to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Macron claimed in a TV interview Thursday that he had "proof" that Assad's regime had used chemical weapons and vowed a response "in due course".

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