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Tension between the United States and Russia is growing because of the possibility of an attack in Syria.
The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vasili Nebenzia, warned on Wednesday that he does not rule out the possibility of an armed conflict between his country and the United States, if Washington decides to launch an attack against Syria.
“We can not exclude any possibility, unfortunately, because we have seen war messages leave from Washington,” the diplomat told journalists at the UN headquarters.
As he said, the risks of a “war” are possible. “The immediate priority is to avoid the risk of war.”
Although he later tried to reduce tensions and assured that an agreed solution should be negotiated and sought, the diplomat confirmed that his country would respond by force in the event of an intervention by the United States in the conflict in Syria.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, announced that it established a crisis communications link with the White House to prevent “an accidental clash” between the two countries, while Russian agencies reported that the Ministry of Defense moved several warships from Syrian ports before the possibility of bombing.
But what is the origin of the concern for an eventual war between the two powers?
The trumpets of war
Concerns about a possible confrontation between Russia and the United States revived on Wednesday, when President Donald Trump said Moscow must “prepare” because the missiles that would fall on Syria would be “beautiful, new and intelligent.”
For days, Washington has valued a military response against the government of Bashar al-Assad, after the alleged attack with chemical weapons against the civilian population of Douma that took place on April 7.
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Chemical weapons are prohibited by international law and on several occasions the Syrian government has been accused of using them in cities taken by rebels during the internal conflict that has lasted more than seven years.
Damascus and Moscow deny the use of these weapons and attribute them to Western campaigns to justify an eventual intervention in the Middle East country.
Although initially Trump announced that he would take action in the alleged attack no later than 48 hours, the president and his national security advisers met again Thursday to discuss the possible response, although no final decision was made, as announced by the White House.
“We continue to evaluate intelligence options and are involved in conversations with our partners and allies,” the statement said.
In fact, according to a statement from the office of number 10 Downing Street, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, communicated Thursday by phone with her American counterpart and both agreed “on the need to discourage the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. “
France, for its part, said it had evidence that the Syrian government carried out the attack near Damascus and announced that it will also assess actions when the investigations are finished.
“We have proof that last week (…) chemical weapons were used, at least with chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of Bashar al Assad,” said President Emmanuel Macron, without offering details of any evidence.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, meanwhile, warned Congress that a potential action against Damascus could trigger “escalation out of control” and he said one of his biggest concerns is to prevent this from happening. happen
Earlier, on Twitter, Trump also softened his statements about an eventual military action.
“It was never said when an attack on Syria would take place, it could be very soon or not so soon!” He wrote.
The origin of tensions
The tensions grew after several sources reported an attack with chemical weapons last Saturday in the city of Douma.
According to the United States and its allies, it was the Al-Assad government itself that used the gases to recover the city from the rebels.
Meanwhile, Russia, Iran and the Damascus government attribute it to the rebels and maneuvers of Washington to intervene in that Middle East country.
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A team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Syria on Thursday to investigate what happened and begin operations on the ground next Saturday, the Dutch-based agency said in a statement.
It is unknown if the United States and its allies would wait for the results of the investigation before making a decision on a possible attack.
Meanwhile, Russia announced that it deployed a team of its military police in Douma as “guarantors of law and order in the city” after the capture of the city that was in the possession of the rebels.