"I refer you to the White House to characterise the president's tweet", a Pentagon spokesman said. An America that is either afraid or unwilling to act is a weakened America - a publicly weakened America - and to truly put America first, one of Trump's core agenda items should be restoring the image of a powerful nation. "They were very bellicose".
But Friday night, the White House released what it said was "a significant body of information" that pointed to the use of chlorine gas - and possibly also the deadly nerve agent sarin. The Kremlin says a hotline between U.S. and Russian military officials is in use and Russian media say it's expected the Americans will provide coordinates of planned targets.
"Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation", tweeted Trump, who has been accused of being overly indulgent to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A WHO statement Wednesday did not confirm outright that a chemical weapons attack had taken place.
The strikes targeted three areas of Syria: a scientific research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs and a storage facility and command post near Homs.
"When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line", Haley said. "It is to drive this to a U.N. -brokered peace but, at the same time, keep our foot on the neck of ISIS until we suffocate it", referring to the Islamic State extremist group.
Later Thursday he was noncommittal.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, as well as CIA director Mike Pompeo, huddled at the White House on Wednesday to discuss options and game out the situation.
Despite the deadlock in the Security Council, OPCW has said that it would shortly send a team to Syria to "establish the facts" surrounding the incident.
The World Health Organization says patients at health facilities showed "signs of severe irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to central nervous systems of those exposed". "Even if the US delivers a strike, this won't change the power balance in Syria", the MP said.
But the strike was limited and designed to not draw America into the chaos of Syria's bloody civil war.
Macron's office and the French military aren't commenting on pending plans.
The government said it is "highly likely" that Assad is responsible for the Douma attack, with ministers agreeing "it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged".
That leaves unaccounted for a frigate armed with Kalibr cruise missiles, a patrol boat and rescue tug and the second submarine. "We weren't trying to kill a lot of people", he said. The Army of Islam justified the tactic by saying it was designed to stop Assad's relentless bombing campaign against civilians.
Russian lawmakers have warned the United States that Moscow would view an airstrike on Syria as a war crime and that it could trigger a direct U.S-Russian military clash.
With tensions growing pan-European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol warned airlines to exercise caution in the eastern Mediterranean due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria over the next 72 hours.
President Assad will be exuberant that the rebels have been ousted from their last remaining stronghold close to the capital. The Russian military and the Syrian government said they would facilitate the mission and ensure the inspectors' security.
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