White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Vice President Mike Pence chaired the meeting Wednesday afternoon.
There was no direct word from Russian President Vladimir Putin on the crisis, though he discussed the situation with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan by phone on Thursday, Interfax news agency said. USA officials have been consulting with France, Britain and other allies on a possible joint military operation, but the timing remained in doubt Wednesday.
In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss support for U.S. action against the Syrian regime.
President Trump said earlier this week that a decision on the USA response would be made "very quickly". Israel has said it won't let Iran entrench militarily in Syria, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the occasion of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day to warn Tehran not to test his country. "Right? This is when we need it".
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The recent military victories Syrian army gained in Douma and elsewhere in Eastern Ghouta were the main reasons behind Trump's threat to attack Syria, al-Atrash said. That then deterred the US administration of Barack Obama from similar action.
Russian Federation is already moving its chips to the possibility of a U.S. air strike against its ally in the Middle East, the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Macron has insisted he does "not want an escalation" and that any response would focus on Syria's chemical capabilities, not on allies of the regime. They were very bellicose. "The Russians probably will not know where the submarines are or that they're there". "I wish there were dialogue through appropriate channels to avert any unsafe development". The Syrian military has also been repositioning some air assets to avoid possible missile strikes, United States officials told Reuters.
"We're trying to stop the murder of innocent people", U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
The Observatory said the Russian military is deploying to reassure thousands of remaining civilians in Douma.
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"The OPCW FFM expert group accompanied by representatives of the office of the United Nations special envoy for Syria and UN Department of Safety and Security will head to Damascus", he said.
Syria's Assad clearly thinks a strike is imminent, however.
Stein predicted in an interview Thursday with VOA's Russian service that "it's probably coming in the next couple of days and will probably last just a night". Russian Federation later in the week vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have allowed for an investigation into the chemical attacks and would have subsequently held Syria responsible for the attacks.
"Chemical weapons have once again been used on Syrian men, women and children", Haley said, pointing out that it was only one year ago that she had held up pictures of dead Syrian children following a chemical attack that killed almost 100 people. In a joint statement, the Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets) and Syrian American Medical Society have said victims of the attack exhibited, "symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent".
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