Western powers walk legal tightrope with Syria strikes

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"Any possible action will only cause more instability in the region and threaten global security and peace", Syrian state TV quoted Assad as saying at a meeting with a high-level Iranian delegation in Damascus on Thursday.

Trump has slammed Russian Federation for its partnership with "Gas Killing Animal" Assad, spurring concerns that a USA strike could lead to a conflagration with Russian Federation, which has major military facilities at Tartus and Khmeimim and works cheek-by-jowl with Syria forces that could be targeted.

Russian Federation does not seek praise, only genuine cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Zakharova said, commenting on US President Donald Trump's recent tweet. "I just want to remind you one more time it's 2018, it's not the middle of the 20th century", she said, adding that in a time of instant communications there's no reason "why people who are in charge of our security and global peace can't talk".

Peskov wouldn't say if Moscow could use a Russia-U.S. military hotline to avoid casualties in a case of a U.S. blow, saying only that "the hotline exists and has remained active".

Separately on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Berlin would not join any military strikes against Syria, but supports efforts to show the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.

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In response, Trump tweeted that while Russian Federation vowed to protect Syria against attack, "Get ready Russian Federation, because [attacks] will be coming, nice and new and "smart!"

He also noted that France would decide whether to strike Syria when all the necessary information has been gathered.

Since the alleged chemical weapons attack, Moscow has announced that Douma is "totally stabilized" and will be patrolled by Russian military police.

But Moscow, Syria's main backer in the seven-year civil war, immediately demanded an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, saying the Western powers had violated "the U.N. charter and the norms and principles of worldwide law".

"Germany will not take part in possible - there have not been any decisions yet, I want to stress that - military action", Merkel said following a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in Berlin.

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In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss support for U.S. action against the Syrian regime.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that Paris had "the proof" that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons, including chlorine, "last week".

The U.S., France and Britain have been in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as the end of this week, U.S. officials have said.

During a Cabinet meeting Thursday morning, the president said, "We are looking very seriously, very closely at that situation and we will see what happens folks".

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he sees no legal justification for a US strike in Syria, absent explicit authorization by Congress. Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the creation of a broad worldwide coalition against terrorism during his speech at the United Nations back in 2015, Zakharova reminded, adding that the proposal "is still on the table".

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The statement goes on to state, "At the same time, OPCW's director-general, Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu, has considered the deployment of a Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team to Douma to establish facts surrounding these allegations".

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