Trump says Syria decision imminent as Russia warns of 'grave repercussions'

US president meets generals as tensions between US and Russia escalate at a UN security council session over Douma gas attack

The US and Russia moved closer to direct confrontation over Syria on Monday night as Donald Trump said a decision was imminent on a response to a chemical weapon attackon Saturday, and Moscow warned that any US military action would have “grave repercussions”.

Trump met US generals in the White House cabinet room on Monday evening to discuss US defence issues. In particular, Trump said they were likely to decide how to react to the poison gas attack in Douma, a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, reported to have killed more than 40 people and seriously affected hundreds.

The US and its allies have accused the regime of Bashar al-Assad of carrying out the attack, and Trump himself said Vladimir Putin, by backing Assad, bore some responsibility.

Russia has claimed there was no chemical weapons attack on Douma or, if there was, it was staged by western-backed rebels.

“So we’re going to make a decision tonight, or very shortly thereafter,” Trump told reporters as he entered the meeting, accompanied by his new national security advisor, John Bolton. “And you’ll be hearing the decision. But we can’t let atrocities like we all witnessed … we can’t let that happen.”

“We have a lot of options, militarily,” the president added. “And we’ll be letting you know pretty soon. Probably after the fact.”

The meeting ended after less than an hour. Asked how his first day was going, Bolton replied: “What could go wrong?” read more..