U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to take military action against Syria over a suspected chemical-weapons attack on civilians over the weekend, while Russian Federation warned any such action would have "grave repercussions".
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Trump by telephone and the two agreed that they would work together to establish clear responsibility for what Macron's office said they had agreed was a confirmed chemical attack.
Trump said on Sunday there would be a "big price to pay" after medical aid groups reported dozens of civilians, including many children and women, were killed by poison gas in the besieged rebel-held town of Douma.
The fast-paced developments heightened tensions between the USA and Russian Federation, which has in the past warned against any US military action against President Bashar Assad's government.
The Syrian state broadcaster said there were several dead and wounded in the strike.
The Syrian government denied it carried out a chemical weapons attack. "The Israeli aggression on the T4 airfield was carried out with F-15 planes", SANA said, citing a military source.
Israel's Foreign Ministry had no comment when asked about reports of the airstrikes.
"We are aware of the reports, we have nothing to confirm", a Pentagon representative said commenting on the reports of the USA involvement in the attack. He also accused former president Barack Obama of being under the influence of the Syrian president.
"It's time. We were successful against ISIS", Trump said.
As worldwide officials worked to try to confirm Saturday's chemical attack on Douma, a Syria medical relief group said at least 60 people had been killed there and more than 1,000 injured in several sites.
The agency said the bombing killed some people and injured others, but did not give an exact toll.
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"The numbers keep rising as relief workers struggle to gain access to the subterranean areas where gas has entered and hundreds of families had sought refuge", the group said.
Turkey attacked Afrin in March to drive out the Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, which forms the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, America's main partner in Syria.
One video shared by activists showed bodies of about a dozen children, women and men, some with foam at the mouth.
According to Syrian State TV, the T-4 airbase in Homs in western Syria was battered by "several missiles" in an "attack likely done by the US" early on Monday. The gas attack was blamed on Assad.
The U.S. Pentagon said it was not conducting air strikes in Syria "at this time", formally denying the Syrian state television report.
Moscow said some 8,000 fighters and 40,000 civilians would be bussed out and said that proved "no chemical weapons were used in this area".
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Brent crude futures fell $1.23 on the day to $66.89 a barrel by 0918 GMT, bringing losses for the week so far to almost 5 percent. In New York, US light prices were down by $0.47 at $63.04 per barrel in mid-day trading.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, urged joint action against Syria at a meeting of the UN Security Council on April 9, but vowed that the United States would act on its own if the UN didn't respond.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Assad's government and its backers, including Russian Federation, "must be held to account" if it is found to have been responsible for the suspected poison gas attack.
The question of chemical weapons in Syria is closely linked with the political settlement of the Syrian issue, he said.
The statement said civil defense volunteers had found 42 casualties dead in their homes "with similar clinical symptoms of excessive oral foaming, cyanosis, and corneal burns".
And in 2017, the Syrian government used sarin once again, this time against civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. Under the terms of that agreement, which was brokered with Russian Federation, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was responsible for overseeing the destruction of Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons and weapons-making material.
It marks Assad's most significant victory over the rebellion against his rule since 2016, and underlines his unassailable position in the conflict.
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