Russian Federation says Syrian 'chemical attack' was staged

UK Prime Minister Theresa May US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron

UK Prime Minister Theresa May US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron

Russian Federation and Syria have said there was no evidence of a chemical weapons attack.

During a press briefing on Friday, Mr Lavrov said he had "irrefutable evidence" that the attack was staged as part of a "Russophobic campaign" led by one country, which he did not name.

That's despite the World Health Organisation stating an estimated 500 people presented at medical facilities with the effects of chemical weapons in the area, according to local agencies.

After a crunch meeting with national security advisers on Thursday, the White House said he 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.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, an independent body established by the UN Human Rights Council, says it has confirmed at least 34 chemical attacks since 2013.

In the near term, the military strike appeared to ramp up a searing war of words between Washington and Moscow, which regarded the action as a attack on Russian Federation itself.

Antov added that it was not acceptable to insult Russia's president: "Insulting the President of Russian Federation is unacceptable and inadmissible".

French President Emmanuel Macron also said he had "proof" that the Syrian government had attacked Douma with chemical weapons, without giving further details.

"We are confident that we have crippled Syria's chemical weapons programme".

"All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris".

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", Moscow's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday. Another official said Bolton did not advocate for any particular position beyond agreeing that the United States should retaliate for the attack if it was clear what chemicals had been used and who used them. "I hope no one would dare to launch such an adventure now", Lavrov said.

President Bashar al-Assad's government - which receives military backing from Russian Federation - has denied involvement in any chemical attack, calling the reports "fabricated". Syria's civil war, which began as a popular uprising against Assad, is now in its eighth year. They are expected to arrive on Saturday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also claimed that following Syrian rebels' withdrawal from the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, stockpiles of chemical agents were allegedly found there.

There were no immediate plans for more attacks, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said. The government, however, said evacuations from Douma were ongoing and no Syrian government forces had entered the town.

"The capital of a sovereign government, trying for years to survive under terrorist aggression, has been attacked".

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