Trump says Syria attack could be ‘very soon or not so soon’

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump was evasive yesterday over when the US might fire missiles at Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack, saying they could come at any time.

Tension was mounting among world powers over the alleged chemical attack against civilians in the Syrian town of Douma.

France's Emmanuel Macron said yesterday he had "proof" that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons, and would respond to it "at a time of our choosing".

One day after warning regime-backer Russia that "missiles will be coming" to Syria, Mr Trump wrote in another early morning tweet storm: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

British Prime Minister Theresa May was due to hold an emergency cabinet meeting amid speculation that she would support US action against the Syrian regime.

Germany's Angela Merkel said it was "obvious" that Syria had not eradicated its chemical arsenal as it had earlier claimed.

Meanwhile, opponents of unilateral US action called an emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council for yesterday.

The White House has said that Mr Trump holds Mr Assad's regime and its military backers Russia responsible for the alleged attack on Douma on Saturday, which rescue workers said killed more than 40 people.

Mr Trump on Wednesday slammed Russia for its military alliance with Mr Assad, saying it should not "be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it".

US officials have refused to rule out direct military engagement with Russia, with the White House saying that "all options are on the table." - AFP