Syria crisis

CNC
Added On April 13, 2018

The latest on the Syrian crisis. 
U.S. President Donald Trump says the U.S. will decide on how to respond to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria "fairly soon". 
 
TRUMP WEIGHS DECISION ON SYRIA
 
SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH): DONALD TRUMP, US President
"We're having a meeting today on Syria. We're having a number of meetings today. We'll see what happens. We're obviously looking at that very closely. And I will be leaving here. I was there, and now I'll be going back as soon as this meeting is over. But we're looking very, very seriously, very closely at that whole situation. And we'll see what happens, folks. We'll see what happens."
 
The Thursday remarks by Trump on the deadly incident in Syria's Douma came hours after his tweet in which he refused to specify any timetable for potential U.S. military action on the war-torn country. 
 
Activists and rebels in Syria claimed that Syrian government forces used chlorine gas on Saturday in an attack in Douma, a rebel-held area near capital Damascus. 
 
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has denied the accusations, calling rebels' claims "premeditated pretexts."
 
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that he was convinced that there was a chemical attack in Syria, adding that the U.S. had not made any decision to launch military action in Syria. 
 
In response, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the U.S. threat to strike Syria will further destabilize the region.
 
The Syrian government has reiterated its willingness to cooperate with an investigation team into the chemical attack allegations. 
 
RUSSIAN UN ENVOY WARNS US ON SYRIA ACTION
 
Russian ambassador to the United Nations has warned the U.S. against military action on Syria.
 
SOUNDBITE(English): VASSILY NEBENZIA, Russian ambassador to UN
"We cannot exclude any possibility, unfortunately, because we saw messages that are coming from Washington -- they were very bellicose. They know we are there. I wish there was dialogue through appropriate channels from this to avert any dangerous development."
 
The envoy said the immediate priority of the Security Council is to avert the danger of war.
 
Russia has called for an opening meeting of the Security Council with the participation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. 
 
MERKEL: GERMANY NOT JOIN SYRIA STRIKE
 
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out Germany joining a potential U.S.-led military strike against Syria.
 
She also stressed, however, that the use of chemical weapons was always "unacceptable".
 
SOUNDBITE(GERMAN):ANGELA MERKEL, German Chancellor
"Germany will not participate in a potential, and I must emphasize that no decision has been made so far, military intervention. ...But we will support and see to it that every effort is being made to show that this use of chemical weapons is unacceptable."
 
Berlin said it would consequently direct its energy towards non-violent means of preventing the use of further chemical weapons in Syria.
   
UK CABINET AGREES NEED TO "TAKE ACTION"
 
Also on Thursday, the British cabinet has "agreed the need to take action" to alleviate humanitarian distress and to deter the further use of chemical weapons in Syria.
 
A statement from the Prime Minister's Press Office said that the cabinet had agreed that the Syrian government "has a track record of the use of chemical weapons and it is highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday's attack".
   
The cabinet agreed the Prime Minister should continue to work with allies in the United States and France to coordinate an international response. 
   
However, the statement did not specify whether Britain would join the possible military action against Syria led by the United States.