Russian Federation calls an emergency session to discuss strikes on Syria

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The United States, France and Britain defended their military action as legal during the Security Council meeting.

BEIRUT/UNITED NATIONS, April 13 (Reuters) - The United States and its ally France assailed Syria's Bashar al-Assad at the United Nations on Friday for using chemical weapons as the prospect of USA -led military action that could lead to confrontation with Russian Federation hung over the Middle East.

Ryabkov was speaking after Western powers launched missile strikes against Syria, a close ally of Russian Federation, over a suspected poison gas attack.

The U.S., United Kingdom and France carried out the strikes in the early morning hours on targets that U.S. officials said were linked to a Syrian government chemical weapons program.

Trump said the strikes were meant to deter the use of chemical weapons like the attack on civilians in the Syrian town of Douma last week, and that the US was prepared to continue the attacks until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.

"We have absorbed the strike", the official told Reuters.

"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded", Haley said.

"When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line, " Haley said.

"All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons".

The investigators, who are only mandated to determine if chemical weapons were used and not who used them, were expected to start their investigations into the Douma incident on Saturday, the Netherlands-based agency said.

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

"We warned about this long ago", he said. "If we continue on this path, we will soon reach the diplomacy of the absurd".

The council failed on Tuesday to approve three draft resolutions on chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Western powers continued to weigh their options on Friday over possible strikes against Syria's regime as pressure built to avoid an escalation following a warning from Russian Federation that military action could lead to "war".

"I would like to believe that we will not see a day that is worse than today, " he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May won backing from her senior ministers on Thursday to take unspecified action with the United States and France to deter further use of chemical weapons by Syria.

Another official said Bolton did not advocate for any particular position beyond agreeing that the United States should retaliate for the attack if it was clear what chemicals had been used and who used them.

A first team of experts from the global Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has arrived in Syria, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

And it would establish a body to determine responsibility for chemical attacks, call for a cease-fire in Syria, unimpeded access for all humanitarian aid, and an urgent resumption of negotiations on a political settlement.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, told reporters "The situation (in Syria) is very risky".