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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Trump to Russia: US missiles ‘coming’ to Syria

At least 60 people were killed in Saturday's suspected chemical weapons attack on the town of Douma

US president Donald Trump listens during a meeting with senior military leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. Al Drago / Bloomberg
US president Donald Trump listens during a meeting with senior military leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. Al Drago / Bloomberg

US President Donald Trump warned Russia on Wednesday to “get ready” for missiles to be fired on Syria after an alleged chemical attack by the Assad regime on a rebel-held town.

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it,” tweeted Mr Trump.

Russia said on Tuesday that any US missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launch sites targeted.

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Moscow and Washington sparred at the United Nations on Tuesday over the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

At least 60 people were killed and hundreds injured in Saturday's chemical weapons attack on the town of Douma, Syrian relief workers said. An estimated 500 people were being treated for "symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals", the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday.

The Syrian government and Russia, however, say the reports are bogus.

Moscow on Wednesday suggested US plans to strike Syria could be a pretext to destroy evidence of an alleged chemical weapons attack, which Russia has said was a staged "provocation" to justify Western intervention.

"Is the whole idea to quickly remove the traces of the provocation …(so) the international inspectors will have nothing to look for in terms of evidence?" asked foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a Facebook post.

The UAE said in a statement on Wednesday that the latest Syrian developments and the UN's failure to take decisive decisions are concerning.

"The United Arab Emirates calls upon the international community to take all the necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of civilians, and ensure the cessation of violence that unfolded in the Syrian crisis," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

"The UAE also calls for the establishment of a commission of inquiry and accountability on this heinous act."