Trump seeks to build alliance to strike Syria

Airlines warned of possible missile launches into Syria

Trump tells Russia to get ready for US missile strike on Syria

The Pentagon said it gave no explicit warning.

But one major worry appeared to ease: That the coordinated attacks by the United States, France and Britain late Friday could have set off a direct confrontation with Syria's most powerful military partner, Russia.

"We have a number of options", said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, "and all of those options are still on the table".

It remains hard to place an exact figure on the number of people killed and wounded Saturday on the outskirts of Damascus, a development that has pushed the United States and its allies to the verge of military confrontation in Syria. This U.S. -Russian deal was enshrined under auspices of the UN Security Council. On Wednesday, Poznikhir alleged that the White Helmets - a Syrian civil defense group - had "staged chemical attacks for the cameras" and that Russian chemical weapons specialists and medical personnel had found no trace of chemical weapons in the affected area. Earlier, Russian officials said some missiles were intercepted by the Soviet-made antimissile batteries used by Syrian forces.

This picture taken on April 14, 2018 shows the wreckage of a building described as part of the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) compound in the Barzeh district, north of Damascus. Trump was critical of Obama for signaling his intention to strike the Syrian regime after its 2013 use of chemical weapons.

"The US has to be very careful not to accidentally strike Russian targets or kill Russian advisors", Ben Connable, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, told AFP.

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Trump and his allies also criticized Syrian ally Iran, as well as Putin and Assad. The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the attack "necessary and appropriate".

Trump and other Western leaders have vowed a quick and forceful response to Saturday's alleged gas attack, which rescue workers say killed more than 40 people. Or will they be extended strikes that serve the broader objective of undermining the regime's military capabilities? Russia, entrenched in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad, is threatening to strike back.

Trump has been fuming ever since Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrived at the door of his lawyer Michael Cohen on Monday, a move that prompted him to angrily denounce what he said was an "attack on our country". Following the recent chemical weapons attack, he agreed with Trump on the need for a "strong, joint response".

Former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford said he believed Assad was not responsible.

When pressed, he acknowledged that some unspecified portion of Assad's chemical arms infrastructure was not targeted.

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"Until we have a more long-term strategy, until we have some idea where we're going in Syria and the Middle East, it seems unwise, to me, to start launching missiles", said Smith, D-Wash. However, I think there's less to it than meets the eye. "It does not exist anymore".

French President Emmanuel Macron said any strikes would "not target allies of the [Syrian] regime or attack anyone, but rather attack the regime's chemical capabilities". "But on a strategic level, it's how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that", Mattis said in morning testimony before the House Armed Services Committee.

The US Navy launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean, targeting Shayrat air base, its aircraft, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems and radars.

In the meantime members of the chemical weapons watchdog the OPCW are preparing to visit the site of the suspected attack to determine if chemicals were used but not to assign blame.

But since then he's suggested he'll wait for further advice from military advisers and U.S. allies.

But British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was little doubt the Syrian government used a barrel bomb - large containers packed with fuel, explosives and scraps of metal - to deliver the chemicals at Douma.

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America has deployed its Carrier Strike Force USS Harry Truman from Norfolk, Virginia, along with other warships.

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