At the House hearing, Democrats grilled Mattis on the wisdom and legality of Trump ordering an attack on Syria without explicit authorization from Congress. Mattis argued it would be justified as an act of self-defense, with 2,000 US ground troops in Syria; he insisted he could not talk about military plans because an attack "is not yet in the offing". During one speech, he said, "We must as a nation be more unpredictable".
The UN 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.
"We don't want a war, but we don't fear it and we're ready for it", Shaaban said. Trump wrote in a Thursday morning tweet that an attack could happen "very soon or not so soon at all".
Russian Federation is a major backer of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's civil war, and strongly opposes the US claim that Syrian government forces attacked a rebel-held town near Damascus on Saturday with chemical weapons.
In the past, Trump has condemned others for forecasting military plans, repeatedly blistering President Barack Obama during the 2016 campaign. We are totally predictable.
"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".
Trump did not detail what a strike on Syria would look like, or whether these would be USA missiles. "We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies".
Shortly after his tweeted warning to Russia, Trump took a more conciliatory tone in lamenting that the U.S. -Russia relationship "is worse now than it has ever been".
Trump has slammed Russian Federation for its partnership with "Gas Killing Animal" Assad, spurring concerns that a United States 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.
He said: "The danger is that we repeat in Syria nearly exactly what we did in Libya in particular".
Trump's administration has sought to show toughness on Russian Federation, with a series of economic and diplomatic actions, including new sanctions last week against government officials and oligarchs.
Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron, who, together with Trump and May, is spearheading the Western response to the alleged chemical attack, claimed that the Syrian government "at least" used chlorine in Douma, without providing any new evidence to back up the claims.
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he hoped common sense would prevail and that the situation would stabilise.
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.
According to the sources, the specific response being considered in the event of US military action against Syria is Japan's "support for the USA resolve to fulfill its responsibility to prevent the use of chemical weapons". France is already involved in the US -led coalition created in 2014 to fight the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
The council has already failed to agree on a response to the attack in three votes and has been deadlocked throughout the Syrian civil war. Multiple IS terror attacks have targeted France, including one last month.
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