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While underscoring USA intentions to hold Russian Federation and Syria accountable for the latest chemical weapons attack, Trump also emphasized that the us mission in Syria was not open-ended. "That meeting was chaired by the Vice President to discuss a number of options", Sanders said.

In this image from video provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, April 7, 2017.

Dozens in the town were reported killed by government airstrikes, conventional weapons that elicited little response from the worldwide community.

The French president, who said he was in daily contact with President Trump, said any strikes would go after Syria's "chemical capabilities".

Macron kept up the drumbeat for likely war with his claim of evidence that chemical weapons were used in the attack, although he did not elaborate.

Asked whether the USA military was ready to conduct an attack in Syria if ordered, Mattis replied, "We stand ready to provide military options if they're appropriate, as the president determined".

US President Donald Trump has threatened to strike Syria with missiles while he, back in 2013, had asked "foolish" Barack Obama (then US president) not to attack the Arab country!

Konstantin Kosachev, the head of foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russian parliament, said it's "really scary to think what kind of people control the largest military arsenal the planet has ever seen".

"We are open for those contacts, they help to understand each other better", Lavrov said.

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he sees no legal justification for a US strike in Syria, absent explicit authorization by Congress.

Addressing new ambassadors in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin said he hoped common sense would prevail and that the situation would stabilise. He added that "we support serious approaches and keep thinking that it's important not to make any steps that could further destabilize the already fragile situation".

Then came Saturday's suspected chemical attack in Douma, followed by worldwide condemnation and threats of military action.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova hit Trump in a Facebook post: "Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legal government that has been fighting global terrorism for several years on its territory".

"Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not legal government", a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry said after Trump's tweet.

The alleged attack was launched not long after Trump called for withdrawal of U.S. troops from war-ravaged Syria.

For days, Trump has been sharpening his rhetoric against Syria and its backers, Russian Federation and Iran, calling Assad an "animal" on Sunday. "Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'" He adds: "You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

The warning from Moscow came as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that increasing tensions over Syria could lead to "full-blown military escalation".

One official said the U.S., France and Britain were considering military options that would be more extensive than the punitive, one-day strike last April.

Although Mattis noted that military action carried risks, he also emphasized that Syrian use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.

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.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Tuesday that Trump will not attend the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru or travel to Bogota, Colombia as planned. In the past Trump has vowed to stand up to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Syria denies the accusation.