Spite today's U.S. presidential tweets, the White House insists no decision has been made.
Syria, Iran and Russian Federation say Israel was behind an air strike on a Syrian air base on Monday that killed seven Iranian military personnel, something Israel has neither confirmed nor denied.
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of CT warned that an attack wouldn't help end the civil war in Syria and said Trump must seek approval from Congress before attacking Syria. Such a scenario would allow Washington to claim it made good on its promise to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad without triggering a clash with Russian Federation.
The tweet followed Russia's warning that it will strike at incoming USA missiles and their launch platforms.
After President Donald Trump warned Russian Federation in a tweet Wednesday that it should "get ready" for missile strikes against Syria, key lawmakers on Capitol Hill questioned whether threats of war should be made via social media while some Republican defense hawks urged Trump to act soon.
Since Trump tweeted about striking Syria, Syrian forces have moved around assets to shield them from U.S. missiles, possibly blunting the potential effect of the strike.
Mattis said Wednesday that the USA is "still assessing the intelligence" on whether the Assad regime is to blame for the recent suspected chemical attack.
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In a thinly veiled swipe at Russia, Mattis also said there would be a briefing at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday morning with more details to address the possible misinformation campaign that will be waged by Syria and its allies.
"Not one of the cruise missiles launched by the United States and its partners entered the zone of responsibility for Russian air-defense divisions", the ministry said in a statement Saturday.
At a Pentagon news conference alongside Mattis, and with British and French military officers beside them to emphasize allied unity, Gen. Joseph Dunford said the attacks targeted mainly three targets in western Syria.
"There is still a residual element of the Syrian program that is out there", Lt Gen McKenzie said, adding, "I'm not going to say they're going to be unable to continue to conduct a chemical attack in the future". Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said the USA should "go over and bomb". We are totally predictable.
The French president, who said he was in daily contact with President Trump, said any strikes would go after Syria's "chemical capabilities".
The U.S. president said Thursday on Twitter that he "never said when an attack on Syria would take place".
This image released Sunday, April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria.
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Mattis' remarks at a House Armed Services Committee hearing followed a series of Trump tweets this week that initially indicated he was committed to bombing Syria but later suggested he was awaiting further advice and assessment.
In his tweet about timing, Trump also claimed success in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and elsewhere, but said he was not getting enough credit. "We're still working on this".
The Syrian president added that the threats endanger worldwide peace and security and that military action would only contribute to the "further destabilization" of the region. The Syrian government and Russian Federation have denied a chemical attack occurred.
In another tweet, Trump called the Syrian leader a "gas killing animal".
But she said the U.S. holds Russian Federation and Syria responsible for the incident.
The United States and its allies France and Britain want to send a clear and definitive message to Assad that the future use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.
Some 70 people were killed and up to 500 more injured in the attack on the city of Douma in the Eastern Ghouta countryside outside Damascus over the weekend.
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Video circulated of the Syrian response.
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