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Nikki Haley told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by Russian Federation that should the U.S. and its allies decide to act in Syria it will be to defend "a bedrock worldwide norm that benefits all nations" - the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", Moscow's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the meeting confirmed that the US and its allies "continue to put worldwide politics and diplomacy in the realm of myth-making - myths invented in London, Paris and Washington". France is reported to be one of the strongest backers of a possible strike which Russian Federation strongly opposes.

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But Guterres said Syria today is the most serious, and "there is no military solution to the conflict". "We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences". Russia, a key ally of the Assad government, is calling for an immediate UN Security Council meeting, he said.

The White House says it is continuing to assess intelligence and talk to its allies on how to respond. Konashenkov released statements by medics from Douma's hospital, who said a group of people toting video cameras entered the hospital, shouting that its patients were struck with chemical weapons, dousing them with water and causing panic.

Why is the West considering military action?

On the suspected poison gas attack on Douma, Ms Haley said: "We know who did this".

Chemical weapons attacks are suspected to have taken place in Syria before. Moscow warned against any strikes and threatened to retaliate.

Russian Federation has been a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and has helped turn the tide of war in his favor since entering the conflict in September 2015.

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Is there proof of the recent "chemical attack"?

The White Helmets, a civil defense agency, blamed the Assad regime for the alleged chemical attack, which it said killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of others.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday said Moscow had "irrefutable" evidence that an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged with the help of a foreign secret service.

President Trump ordered precision missile strikes Friday evening on Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said US President Donald Trump "has not yet made a decision about possible actions in Syria".

Putin was quoted as urging for a "thorough and objective probe" into the reports of the chemical weapons attack.

Mr Trump, who has cancelled a planned trip overseas, has been canvassing support for strikes from the leaders of France and the UK.

Guterres said he has asked Syrian special envoy Staffan de Mistura to come to NY as soon as possible to consult "on the most effective way to accelerate the political process".

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he hoped common sense would prevail and that the situation would stabilise.

He noted that OPCW's report didn't contain any mention of BZ, adding that Russian Federation will ask the chemical weapons watchdog for an explanation.