Russian officials had said US and Russian military staffs remained in contact regarding Syria, even as Russian media carried stories in recent days about the potential outbreak of "World War III" as a effect of a USA airstrike against Assad.
President Trump has sent mixed messages on the US response, warning Russian Federation in a tweet Wednesday to "get ready" for USA missile strikes in Syria in retaliation for the attack.
"We're maintaining that we have a number of options and all those options are still on the table". That attack triggered a swift decision by Trump to launch a fusillade of Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase.
Did Trump tip his hand?
Sanders was responding to questions after a series of tweets Trump sent earlier indicating a military response was imminent. On Thursday, however, he tweeted: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".
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Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday that the USA and its allies are mulling how to respond to the attack.
The nighttime assault on Syria was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Russian Federation, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow in advance.
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.
French President Emmanuel Macron said any strikes would "not target allies of the [Syrian] regime or attack anyone, but rather attack the regime's chemical capabilities".
A USA attack on Syria would be in a response to a chemical weapons attack on anti-government rebels, one that Trump and other officials blame on leader Bashar Assad.
"Syria's enemies are angry because of its military advances against terrorist groups", Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's top adviser, told Iranian state TV during his visit to eastern Ghouta's bomb-shattered ruins. If the US' goal is to intimidate Russian Federation, then Washington will fail, the senator said.
A US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is in the Mediterranean Sea, and the European air traffic control agency, Eurocontrol, has warned airlines to take "due consideration" while in the eastern Mediterranean over the next few days because of the possible launch of missiles into Syria.
"Our relationship with Russian Federation is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War", Trump said. It seems, however, that this new US attack is the most serious threat yes to start a direct US-Russia war, with no sign cooler heads are going to prevail.
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"New, stealthy JASSM missiles could be delivered by B-1B and B-52 (and now likely F-15E and F-16)", Mount said.
More than 2,000 US troops are in Syria.
A stern statement last month by Russia's top military officer effectively drew a red line on any USA strike.
Parliament refused United Kingdom participation in a planned punitive raid on Syria in 2013, one of the reasons then-US President Barack Obama called off the raid and left the French high and dry.
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".
Today Prime Minister Theresa May summoned ministers back from the Easter recess for an emergency Cabinet war meeting at No10.
Speaking in the British city of Birmingham on Wednesday, May said "all the indications" are that the Syrian regime was responsible for a chemical weapons attack in Douma, adding that the use of such weapons "cannot go unchallenged".
Russian Federation has threatened to respond firmly to any military action against the Syrian Government.
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France has 10 Rafale fighter jets stationed in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates which could be armed with "storm shadow" missiles that can fly for more than 155 miles, according to the French Ministry of Defense and retired general Dominique Trinquand. They've begun jamming U.S. drones flying over Syria, and have threatened to shoot down incoming United States missiles. Consider different options. Among them there are those that do not include a missile strike.