Attack on Syrian air base kills 14

Iranian Major General Gholam Ali Rashid

Washington denied this, and France, which in February had said it would strike in the event of a chemical weapon attack on civilians by Syrian government forces, also said its forces were not involved.

The IDF has issued no official response to allegations that it was behind the Syria strike, which was apparently coordinated in advance with the United States, but not with Russian Federation despite the two countries having established a hotline to avoid clashes over Syria.

The central bank boss and President Hassan Rowhani have both been criticised for the slide in the currency, which comes as U.S. President Donald Trump threatens to pull out of a nuclear deal and reimpose potentially crippling sanctions.

"A lack of coherent strategy toward Syria is strengthening our adversaries and weakening our allies", Block warned and "the power vacuum would immeasurably strengthen Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his evil regime propped up by his patrons Iran and Russian Federation".

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At the same time, Trump's declaration last week that he wants to pull United States troops out of northeastern Syria further undermines the impact that strikes might have on slowing the government's progress, said Faysal Itani of the Atlantic Council in Washington.

Block said he understand why Americans want out of Syria but cautioned that "the consequences of a USA decision to disengage in the region must not be underestimated".

US President Donald Trump earlier blamed the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma on Russian Federation and Iran, citing their support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "When the Syrian regime continues to use chemical weapons against civilians with impunity, protected by Russian Federation and Iran, that line has always been crossed".

Syrian rescuers from the White Helmets documented 42 fatalities in Saturday's reported chemical attack but were impeded from searching further by strong odours that caused breathing difficulties, said Siraj Mahmoud, a spokesman for the group. Some had bluish skin, a sign of oxygen deprivation, according to a statement, symptoms consistent with chemical exposure.

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The Syrian government denied the allegations, calling them "fabrications" by the Army of Islam and a "failed attempt" to impede government advances.

Ansari said Western powers were using the alleged chemical attack as "an excuse" to undermine the Syrian regime's recent success on the ground. Douma was the only town left holding out.

"A president who says he wants to get the hell out of Syria is not really in a position to threaten the military progress of the regime", he said.

The small USA force of about 2000 troops deployed in northeastern Syria alongside Syria's Kurds are particularly vulnerable to revenge attacks by both Iran and Syria, he said.

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