Trump considering response to Syria attack

The US President branded the horror in a rebel-held Damascus suburb ¿sick¿ as he indicated he could respond with military action and blamed Vladimir Putin for backing the ¿animal Assad

An attack with chlorine, which can be used as a weapon but is not outright banned by the treaty, could raise precedent issues, as there have been numerous recent allegations of chlorine attacks in Syria that have drawn no response from the Trump administration.

An escalating war of words has broken out between Moscow and Washington over a suspected chemical attack in a Syrian rebel-held town, raising worldwide tensions amid calls for action at an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting.

The line-up among the worldwide parties involved in the Syrian conflict - France, Iraq, Lebanon, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, as well as the Kurds - also bears on what happens next in Syria.

"We have reached the moment when the world must see justice done", Haley told an emergency meeting at United Nations headquarters in NY.

Worldwide bodies led by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were trying to establish exactly what happened in Douma, a rebel-held town in the eastern Ghouta district.

Further, asked directly if military force is on the table as an option, Trump said that all options are on the table.

"We must not overlook Russian Federation and Iran's roles in enabling the Assad regime's murderous destruction", she continued.

Mr Trump said the U.S. is still investigating the possible involvement of the Iranian and Russian governments in the apparent strike on Douma.

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In a parallel operation, 65 buses carrying fighters and civilians left the outskirts of Ghouta and headed to northern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"Our military specialists have visited this place. and they did not find any trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians", he said.

Trump - who a year ago ordered a missile strike on a Syrian air base after sarin was used in the town of Khan Sheikhun - warned that there would be a "big price to pay".

Trump also discussed the incident with French President Emmanuel Macron late on Monday, and both leaders expressed a desire for a "firm response". But weapons inspectors are not expected to go to Syria after being attacked twice while trying to get to the sites of chemical weapons attacks since 2013.

The airfield, known as T-4, was attacked in the past by Israeli Air Force jets after an Iranian drone violated Israeli airspace.

Reports suggested more than 500 people, mostly women and children, were brought to medical centres with difficulty breathing, foaming at the mouth, and burning sensations in the eyes.

Pressed Monday on whether those plans still stand, Trump simply told reporters: "We're gonna make a decision on all of that, in particular Syria, we'll be making that decision very quickly, probably by the end of today".

Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from the United Nations headquarters in NY, said the different narratives and the "escalation in rhetoric" laid bare the divisions within the Security Council.

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September 14, 2013: Then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Lavrov reach a deal that calls for the removal or destruction of Syria's chemical weapons by mid-2014.

Tensions between the US and Russian Federation have intensified following the attack.

Regime forces walk along a destroyed street in the former rebel-held town of Jobar in Eastern Ghouta on April 2, 2018.

Syria has denied it had anything to do with a chemical attack.

"At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting airstrikes in Syria", the Pentagon said in a statement.

The White House sharply rejected any suggestion that Trump's own words about pulling USA troops out of Syria had opened the door for the attack, which killed more than 40 people, including children.

"The United States is determined to see the monster who dropped chemical weapons on the Syrian people held to account", Haley said.

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