Russian Federation says Syrian government now in control of rebel town

Bodies of the victims of an alleged chemical attack in rebel-held Douma Syria

United States President, Donald Trump has said Russian Federation should "get ready" for missiles to be fired at its ally, Syria.

Trump, who has often said a commander in chief should never telegraph his military intentions, apparently did so himself, tweeting that missiles "will be coming" in response to the suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40 people near Damascus.

The United States and several of its allies have focused on Syrian forces as being responsible, while Syria and Russian Federation have denied President Bashar al-Assad's military carried out a chemical attack. "Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart", Trump wrote on Twitter.

The U.S. ambassador in Moscow, John Huntsman, said in a video, "Before we took action, the United States communicated with" Russia to "reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties".

Russian Federation is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally in the years-long civil war against rebel groups.

Trump said the U.S.is prepared to sustain economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called an emergency cabinet meeting for Thursday, while French President Emmanuel Macron is to decide on a response in the coming days, having insisted he does "not want an escalation" and that any response would focus on Syria's chemical capabilities, not on allies of the regime.

The World Health Organisation said on Wednesday around 500 people had been treated for "signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals" after the Douma attack.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joseph Dunford, said the U.S. "specifically identified" targets to "mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved" and that the normal deconfliction line was used in the run up to the strike to ensure clearance of airspace.

Trump and his allies also criticized Syrian ally Iran, as well as Putin and Assad.

Syria, Russia and Iran say reports of the attack were fabricated by rebels and rescue workers in Douma and have accused the United States of seizing upon it as a pretext to attack the government. Trump wrote on Twitter.

Asked about Trump's tweet about an impending attack on Syria, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, who ran the Pentagon for President Bill Clinton, said on CNN that it "compromises the mission somewhat".

The U.N. Security Council, tasked with maintaining global peace and security, has been riven, with Moscow virulently denying the Douma attack took place, or postulating that it was carried out by rebels.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the remaining rebels in Eastern Ghouta surrendered their heavy weapons to Russian military police and their leader left the enclave for the north.

It was assumed chemical weapon sites would be the only major targets of a US-led sea and air strike.

In the UK, Cabinet ministers said that it was "highly likely" the Assad regime was responsible for the attack and said the use of chemical weapons must not "go unchallenged". But instead of putting US muscle behind that proposition, Obama deflected Syria's growing upheaval, over and over, to the UN.

But he was cautious in his public remarks about Syria on Wednesday, disclosing little about the decision-making process ahead of talks at the White House and saying the United States was still reviewing intelligence about the attack itself. Having responded militarily past year, and having criticised President Barack Obama for inaction, this president has every reason to make another move against Assad. He said Syria's air defenses were ineffective and that numerous more than 40 surface-to-air missiles fired by the Syrians were launched after the allied attack was over. The US Defence Department said it "does not comment on potential future military actions".

The attack has drawn condemnation from Western leaders, with President Donald Trump vowing Monday to come to a decision "over the next 24 to 48 hours" on how to make Syria pay a "big price".

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