Trump cancels South America trip because of Syria, White House says

Hugh Fox
April 12, 2018

France on Tuesday became the latest U.S. ally to warn of action if Syria "crossed a red line" in Saturday's suspected chemical attack.

U.S. President Donald Trump has canceled a scheduled trip to South America later this week as Washington considers military action against Syria over an alleged chemical attack.

Following Mrs May's talks with the United States and French leaders, a Downing Street spokesman said: "They agreed that reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria were utterly reprehensible and if confirmed, represented further evidence of the Assad regime's appalling cruelty against its own people and total disregard for its legal obligations not to use these weapons".

The footage has been published by organizations engaged in human rights protection and care for the victims, but who are reported to be close to the United States side, which supports the rebels. "It reveals the capacity and the will to use weapons which are outlawed by global law", he said.

After US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley promised a response "either way", Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said he feared Washington was looking for a military option.

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Airspace around Syria's west coast is empty of civilian flights, as the USA and its allies edge closer to launching air strikes on Syria with major military movements reported.

Six countries including China and Russian Federation backed the measure, while seven nations voted against.

The United States, Britain and France have argued the alleged attack bears all the hallmarks of a strike ordered by the regime of Russian Federation s ally Assad, which has been blamed for previous attacks by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

A US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean, and the European air traffic control agency, Eurocontrol, has warned airlines to take "due consideration" while in the eastern Mediterranean over the next few days, because of the possible launch of missiles into Syria.

This reflects a view in the White House that deeper Russian and Iranian involvement in Syria have complicated calculations about a response to any USA military attack.

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Twelve council members voted in favor, while Bolivia joined Russian Federation in voting no, and China abstained.

News of the OPCW mission to Douma also came as the UN Security Council was due to vote later Tuesday on rival United States and Russian draft resolutions in response to the alleged attack.

That measure did not pass either.

Syrian opposition activists and rescuers said poison gas was used on the rebel-held town near the capital, an allegation strongly denied by the Assad government.

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