Western leaders to hold further talks on potential Syria action

Russia has warned the US and its allies to to "seriously consider" the consequences

Western leaders to hold further talks on potential Syria action

A Syrian boy herds goats on a street in the town of Zamalka in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus, Syria, 04-04-2018. Image: Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The leaders of The US, UK and France are due to hold more discussions on a response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Yesterday the British Prime Minister Theresa May won the backing of her cabinet for action.

She spoke with US president Donald Trump last night – with both leaders agreeing that is “vital” that the use of chemical weapons does not go “unchallenged."

Over 70 people died and a further 500 were injured in the town of Douma near Damascus on Saturday.

The Syrian American Medical Society described patients foaming at the mouth and warned that victims had suffered corneal burns and smelled of a "chlorine-like odour."

Both Moscow and Damascus deny that the gas attack took place or that either regime was involved.

"Appalling and inhumane"

In a statement released following yesterday’s meeting, the British cabinet said: "The Prime Minister (Theresa May) said it was a shocking and barbaric act which killed up to 75 people, including children, in the most appalling and inhumane way.”

"Cabinet agreed that the Assad regime has a track record of the use of chemical weapons and it is highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday's attack,” it said.

"Cabinet agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime."

Trump threat

Yesterday President Trump appeared to roll back somewhat on his threat for a military strike against Syria, tweeting that action could be taken “very soon or not so soon at all.”

It came after a previous tweet in which he warned Russia to “get ready” because US missiles “will be coming, nice and new and “smart.”

The Kremlin has warned the US and its allies to "seriously consider" the consequences of their threats to launch military action.

"Devastating conflict"

In the UK, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused Theresa May of “waiting for instructions from Donald Trump” adding that any UK military intervention “risks escalating an already devastating conflict.”

He warned that the British Parliament should be asked to approve any action, insisting that that basis for intervention is shaky.

"Even US defence secretary James Mattis has said we 'don't have evidence' and warned further military action could 'escalate out of control'," Mr Corbyn said.

French President Emanuel Macron meanwhile claims there is "proof" that "at least chlorine" had been used by the Assad regime.

US broadcaster NBC, quoting US officials, has reported that blood and urine samples had been obtained which tested positive for chemical weapons.

The global chemical weapons watchdog has confirmed it will deploy a fact-finding mission to Douma "shortly."

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said it had asked the Syrian Government to “make the necessary arrangements for such a deployment.”

Additional reporting from IRN ...