War increasingly likely

By: crunchgodabruinknees

Evening summary

  • The French government has “proof” that the Syrian regime was responsible for Saturday’s alleged chemical attack in Damascus, which reportedly killed around 50 people and injured hundreds, according to president Emmanuel Macron. 
  • US defence secretary James Mattis has said Washington is still gathering evidence about who carried out the attack, and said his main concern about the American military response was how to stop the tensions “escalating out of control”. 
  • American TV network NBC is reporting that blood and urine samples from the victims of Saturday’s attack had traces of a nerve agent and chlorine, indicating that the government of Bashar al-Assad was responsible. 
  • President Trump has stepped back from yesterday’s promise of an missile strike in Syria, tweeting that he “never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”
  • Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are set to arrive in Damascus tonight and on Friday to start an investigation into the chemical attack. They are not due to visit the site of the incident until Saturday, however. 
  • The British government held a two hour cabinet meeting on Thursday to discuss the UK’s military response to Saturday’s chemical attack in Syria. A Number 10 spokesman said details of what had been agreed in the meeting would be released this evening.
  • Russia’s UN ambassador has said his top diplomatic priority is to avert war in Syria. He did not rule out the possibility of US-Russian conflict.

If you want to read a full report on today’s developments, our correspondents in Washington, Paris and Moscow have the latest.

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