11:16 GMT28 February 2021
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    Russia has maintained that there has been no evidence of any chemical attack in Douma and sees Washington's threats to "punish" Syria with military force as justification for intervention

    The next few days may see already a second US Navy destroyer entering the Mediterranean Sea, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources at the Pentagon.

    “The US already has one guided-missile destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, in the eastern Mediterranean, where it could take part in any strike on Syria, according to US defense officials. A second, the USS Porter could get there in a few days,” the newspaper wrote.

    The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet wrote that Russian warplanes had allegedly buzzed the Donald Cook at least four times, but the report was later denied by the Pentagon.

    Earlier, US President Donald Trump accused Russia and Iran of providing support to the Syrian President Bashar Assad and said that he would make a decision within 48 hours on how to respond to Saturday’s alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma which Damascus is being blamed for. He didn’t rule out a military option.

    Moscow and Damascus dismissed reports of a chlorine bomb attack in Douma, with the Russian Foreign Ministry describing them as an attempt to help the terrorists and justify possible military intervention in Syria from abroad.

    READ MORE: PHOTOS Allegedly Show US-Coalition Convoy Heading From Iraq to Syria

    On March 13, Russia’s military chief of staff, General Valery Gerasimov, said that Moscow had intelligence about militants in Eastern Ghouta preparing a mock-up chemical attack in the area.

    The senior official added that the US could use the fake attack as a pretext for striking out at government quarters in Damascus.

    The UN Security Council met on Monday to discuss the latest events in Syria, including the purported chemical attack in Douma.

    The United States, France and Britain hasted to blame Damascus, although Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is winning the war, would hardly have any plausible reason to authorize such an attack in the first place.

    On Monday, Russia sent a team of chemical corps experts to Douma to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons there. 

    After questioning the patients and staff of a local hospital, the Russian experts said they had found no traces whatsoever of any chemical poisoning with either chlorine or sarin.


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