First OPCW experts looking into incident in Syria's Douma arrive in Beirut

A medical worker gives a toddler oxygen following an alleged poison gas attack

But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in Wednesday's press briefing that there was no timetable for any punitive strike.

Trump has consulted with U.S. allies, particularly France and the United Kingdom, about a coordinated response to the suspected chemical attack, but officials say they have not reached a firm agreement on scale or timing.

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss support for U.S. action against the Syrian regime. But Assad uses them anyway, Bronk said, to "depopulate" rebel areas, as the fumes from the weapons seep into shelters where regular bombs can't reach - and where civilians including children often take refuge.

"We're maintaining that we have a number of options and all those options are still on the table". In his tweet at the Russians, Trump told them, "you shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

Trump warned Russian Federation that "nice and new" missiles would be heading to Syria and Moscow should "get ready". The OPCW said it would "shortly" deploy a fact-finding team to Douma for an investigation, but USA officials said they were working from their own information and would not necessarily hold back.

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"I rule out a scenario in which the United States will intentionally strike a facility in Syria where Russian servicemen are located", Military Sciences Academy vice president Sergei Modestov said in Thursday's edition of the government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta. "Final decisions haven't been made yet on that front", she said, and no timeline for any strikes had been established.

Theresa May has summoned the cabinet to discuss the government's response to the latest Syrian crisis today, with sources claiming she is prepared to take action without parliamentary consent.

A second US Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the USS Porter, is also understood to be in the Mediterranean and like the Donald Cook carries an arsenal of around two dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles.

"We stand ready to provide military options if they are appropriate as the President determined", he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron will reportedly decide on a response in the coming days.

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The government of President Bashar al-Assad, which since Russia's military intervention in 2015 has gradually reasserted what was once a very tenuous grip on the country, was keen to secure an area that directly threatened the capital. "Why can't we just be quiet and, if we attack at all, catch them by surprise?"

"It is possible that strike packages and potential targets should be adjusted based on what you see on the ground", Kirby said, noting that both the Russians and Syrian regime have been given plenty of indicators as to the type of strike the USA may be considering.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he called the ambassadors of the Council's veto-wielding powers, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, "to reiterate my deep concern about the risks of the current impasse and stressed the need to avoid the situation spiraling out of control". Opposition activists and rescuers say at least 40 people were killed.

In response, Russia's foreign ministry said: "Smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not towards the lawful government".

Tests carried out by experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) showed the nerve agent was found in environmental samples collected in Salisbury, according to Sky News.

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