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Factbox - Assad's foreign backers in Syria's war

15 Abril 2018

But British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was little doubt the Syrian government used a barrel bomb - large containers packed with fuel, explosives and scraps of metal - to deliver the chemicals at Douma.

Trump seemed to be backtracking from his Wednesday tweet, which warned Russia to brace for missiles which "will be coming".

The United States would not want to risk putting manned fighters over Syrian air defences - a shoot-down would send the conflict spiraling in unforeseeable new directions. Assad has maintained his bloody dictatorship by destroying the country, killing hundreds of thousands of his people, and forcing almost half of the original population of 22 million people into displacement. "The position is a very dangerous one because of Russian involvement, also because we have an erratic President of the United States".

Others noted that diplomatic and military interventions fell flat over the years as atrocities piled up.

A day before a team from the international chemical weapons watchdog was to arrive in Douma, just east of Damascus, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj. The man who was U.S. president when Adolf Hitler committed suicide 30 Aprils after Germany's 1915 gas attack had been Capt. Harry Truman in 1918 when his artillery unit fired shells containing some of the chemical agents that the Allies had developed in response to what Germany did in 1915. If the US' goal is to intimidate Russia, then Washington will fail, the senator said.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York said the escalation of the situation in Syria "is impacting.it could escalate to greater military conflict".

The Pentagon refused to comment further on potential future military operations in response to Trump's tweet. The Iraqi society was relatively stable, and relations among the three major factions in Iraq-Sunnis, Shia and Kurds-were managed relatively peacefully although anger against the Saddam dictatorship was seething.

Russia, Syria and its other main backer, Iran, have said reports of the Douma attack were fabricated by rebels and rescue workers and have accused the United States of seeking to use it as a pretext to attack the Syrian government.

Asked whether the U.S. military was ready to conduct an attack in Syria if ordered, Mattis replied, "We stand ready to provide military options if they're appropriate, as the president determined". Trump has repeatedly assailed Mueller's probe as "corrupt" and "fake", while suggesting that it is responsible for "much of the bad blood with Russia". This resulted in mutual deterrence during the next world war, during which poison gas was used only for genocide.

The Syrian pound lost nearly 10 percent of its value on prospects of an American attack, going from about 430 Syrian pounds to the dollar last week to 469 Wednesday.

"We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

Macron and May both suggested on Thursday that enough evidence had been gathered to pin blame for the attack on Assad. Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together.

Unfortunately, Trump seems not to have grasped the connection between a troop withdrawal and Assad's use of chemical weapons. The last batch of rebel fighters left Douma on Friday, heading to Jarablus, a town in northern Syria controlled by Turkey-backed rebels and with a Turkish military presence.

The USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, is within easy striking range of Syria, as is a French frigate with its own cruise missiles.

Factbox - Assad's foreign backers in Syria's war