The United States on Friday blamed the Syrian government for a deadly chemical weapons attack this month and slammed Russian Federation for failing to stop its ally, President Bashar al-Assad, as U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to weigh a forceful military response.
Anti-aircraft fire is seen over Damascus, Syria early April 14, 2018.
The United States didn't waste any time in disputing Russia's accusations.
The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday accused Britain of staging a fake chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma last weekend, a bold charge that comes amid Moscow's stern warnings to the West against striking Syria.
According to Interfax news agency, Russia's defense ministry also said that Syria intercepted the US and allied attacks using Soviet-produced hardware, including the Buk missile system.
"All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons", she said.
US officials suspect the Russia-backed Assad regime is behind the attack.
After a crunch meeting with national security advisors Thursday, the White House said it had not yet decided how to retaliate to last week's suspected chemical attack which the US, France and Britain blame on Bashar al-Assad's regime. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Western intervention in Syria would "lead to new waves of migrants to Europe".
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Western powers weighed their options on Friday over possible strikes against Syria's regime as pressure built to avoid an escalation and Russian Federation stepped up its warnings against military action which it said could lead to "war".
According to a statement by the French presidency, Macron called for dialogue between France and Russian Federation to "continue and intensify" to bring peace and stability to Syria.
"We continue to observe risky military preparations for an illegal act of force against a sovereign state", Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council.
Any U.S. strike would probably involve the Navy.
Across Western capitals opposition to military action also grew.
"We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies", it said.
The capture of Douma has clinched a major victory for Assad, crushing what was once a centre of the insurgency near Damascus, and underlines his unassailable position in the war.
In Geneva, U.N. war crimes investigators condemned on Friday the suspected use of chemical weapons in Douma and called for evidence to be preserved with a view to future prosecutions.
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The third target, which was also near Homs, contained both a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and a command post. On Friday evening, President Trump announced that he has ordered the United States military to attack Syria's government.
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While Assad and his allies deny perpetrating chemical weapons attacks, the global community continues to collect damning evidence. Israel has repeatedly warned that it will not accept its arch-foe Iran entrenching itself militarily in Syria.
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