Putin sits back as United States, allies strike Syria

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Zakharova suggested that Western media bore some responsibility for the strikes, claiming the White House cited "multiple media sources" on the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma.

The Russian President, who backs Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, has called for an immediate United Nations Security Council meeting to what the Kremlin has called "an attack on Syria".

Trump himself appeared on Thursday to cast doubt on at least the timing of any US -led military action, tweeting: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

There is a heightened "danger of escalation" because of the Russian military presence in Syria, Nebenzia said after a private meeting of the UN Security Council in NY. The medics, however, said none of the patients had any symptoms of chemical poisoning, according to the statements.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, told reporters "The situation (in Syria) is very unsafe".

"We have absorbed the strike", the official told Reuters.

Trump said the strikes were meant to deter the use of chemical weapons like the attack on civilians in the Syrian town of Douma last week, and that the USA was prepared to continue the attacks until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.

The strikes - the strongest concerted action yet by Western forces in Syria - were launched at 9 p.m. ET, as most of Europe and the Middle East was shrouded in darkness.

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Western strikes early today hit Syrian military bases and research centres in and around the capital and the country's centre.

No evidence has been shared by Macron, Lavrov or the Russian defence ministry.

Monday: Nebenzia told the U.N. Security Council "there was no chemical attack" over the previous weekend. The United States, France and Britain fired 105 missiles overnight in retaliation, targeting Syria's chemical weapons program.

Britain's UN Ambassador Karen Pierce meanwhile rejected a charge by a Russian defence ministry spokesman that Britain was involved in staging a fake chemical weapons attack in Douma. "We can not take such risks", he said at a forum.

'We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom, or anywhere else in our world.

On Thursday, French president Emmanuel Macron said he had "proof that chemical weapons - at least chlorine gas", was used by the Assad regime. "Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran, that put its territory, its forces and its leadership at risk", the official said.

During his meeting with Trump and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, Mattis pushed for more evidence of the Assad regime's culpability for the attack, to bolster the case for air strikes, The New York Times reported. "But should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree", Haley told the U.N. Security Council.

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