Japan to avoid direct support for U.S. strike on Syria

Japan to avoid direct support for US strike on Syria: sources

Report: Blood Samples Show Nerve Agent, Chlorine Used in Syria Attack

May recalled the ministers from their Easter holiday for a special cabinet meeting in Downing Street later on Thursday to discuss Britain's response to what she has cast as a barbaric attack that can not go unchallenged.

"Consultations are ongoing between the allies and they will not let matters progress as Washington wants", she told Lebanon's al-Mayadeen channel, referring to the alliance of Assad, Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah.

"That was the first step in this process, but we're continuing to look at a number of options", she said.

The UN Security Council, tasked with maintaining global peace and security, has been riven, with Moscow virulently denying the Douma attack took place, or postulating that it was carried out by rebels.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday that President Emmanuel Macron would decide whether to launch an attack over the "non-respect of the global convention against chemical weapons", which is a "red line" for France.

Moscow on Thursday called on the West to "seriously consider" the consequences of threats against Syria after the United States and France said they would respond to an alleged chemical attack.

US President Donald Trump is consulting with British and French leaders as he mulls how to respond to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

The President also insisted that the United States would not remain engaged in Syria forever under any circumstances.

Global observers with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have yet to reach the Damascus suburb of Douma, where the attack took place.

Russian Federation has warned the West against attacking its Syrian ally, which is also supported by Iran, and says there was no chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma.

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Trump indicated the strikes would continue until the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons ends.

"You don't rush decisions like this", Haley told reporters ahead of the meeting - the fourth on Syria at the council this week. It was not clear whether the presence of the investigators could affect the timing of any USA military action.

"We have proof that last week. chemical weapons were used, at least chlorine was, and they were used by the Assad regime", he said.

Asked about the risks of US military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties.

"We can not risk an escalation even further than it's gone already". U.S. lawmakers questioned whether Trump has the legal authority to order strikes without Congressional approval and opposition parties voiced concern. More broadly, he doubted the wisdom of bombing. "We need to know where that's going, what the objective of it is before we take that act".

Senior Russian figures, including the head of the military, have warned that U.S. missiles will be shot down and their launch sites targeted if Russian personnel come under threat.

At stake in Syria is the potential for confrontation, if not outright conflict, between the US and Russian Federation, former Cold War foes whose relations have deteriorated in recent years over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and, most recently, its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russian lawmakers have warned the United States that Moscow would view an airstrike on Syria as a war crime and that it could trigger a direct U.S-Russian military clash.

"I'm not ready to speculate that that would happen", Mr. Mattis said.

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