Strikes hit Syria as country had 'chance for peaceful future': Moscow

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Syria's state-run television says coordinated air strikes by the US, Britain and France have hit a scientific research center in the suburbs of the capital Damascus, among other targets.

USA allies have offered strong words of support for Washington but no clear military plans have yet emerged. Russian officials denied any involvement during the most violent days of the fighting between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine in 2014, while journalists and Western intelligence agencies reported tanks pouring across the Russian border into the Ukraine. "Russia was supposed to guarantee Assad would not use chemical weapons, and Russian Federation did the opposite". In announcing the strikes, Trump directly blamed Russian Federation for enabling the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons. Vladimir Shamanov, who chairs the defence committee of Russia's lower house, said the vessels had departed the base for their own safety, which was "normal practice" when there were threats of attack. "The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", he told reporters.

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"None of the cruise missiles launched by the United States and its allies entered the zones of Russian air defenses around Tartus and Hmeymin", the ministry said in a statement. He asked U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres to call an open meeting of the U.N. Security Council for Friday.

Putin also said Russian military experts did not find any traces of chlorine gas or other poisonous substances in Douma. Trump had dialled down the rhetoric on Thursday. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!" he had tweeted.

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the 11 nations "fought hard to get the final agreement that we have now before us". The paranoia over President Trump's tariff threats and the subsequent Chinese response has been well documented.

Global stock markets have had a whipsaw week, largely fuelled by Trump's tendency to change his mind over top policy issues.

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