European airlines warned of possible Syria strike within 72 hours
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European airlines warned of possible Syria strike within 72 hours

Authorities tell companies to watch for missile and air attacks in and near Syrian airspace

Smoke billows in the town of Douma, the last opposition holdout in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, on April 7, 2018. (AFP)
Smoke billows in the town of Douma, the last opposition holdout in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, on April 7, 2018. (AFP)

European airspace authorities are warning aircraft to be careful over the next days when flying close to Syria because of possible military action against President Bashar Assad’s forces.

The Eurocontrol airspace organization said that the European Aviation Safety Agency had sent a “Rapid Alert Notification” that flight operations needed to consider the possibility of air or missile strikes into Syria.

US officials have consulted with global allies on a possible joint military response to Syria’s alleged poison gas attack on a rebel-held town.

In a notice posted to Eurocontrol’s website, EASA said: “Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken.”

The US maintained the threat of missile strikes Wednesday in response to alleged chemical attacks in Syria, despite the risk of triggering a head-on clash with Damascus ally Russia.

This image shows a medical worker giving toddlers oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April 8, 2018.(Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

In the face of intense world outrage, the United Nations Security Council failed to agree on a global response to the incident on Tuesday, after Washington and Moscow opposed each other’s rival motions to set up an international investigation into chemical weapons use in the seven-year-old conflict.

Trump has made it clear he plans to make the Syrian regime of Assad, and perhaps his Russian and Iranian backers, pay for the latest alleged toxic gas atrocity in the war-wracked country.

According to rescue workers, on Saturday more than 40 people died in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma in an alleged chemical attack, which left victims struggling to breathe, foaming at the mouth and with discolored skin.

The United States, Britain and France have argued the incident bears all the hallmarks of a strike ordered by the regime of Russia’s ally Assad, which has been blamed for previous attacks by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Trump has warned there would be a “big price to pay,” and Washington’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley made it clear that the failure to secure a Security Council vote would not hold America and its allies back.

Also Wednesday, Russia urged restraint in Syria, saying that countries should avoid taking action that could further destabilize the war-torn country.

“As before we would hope that all sides will avoid steps that in reality are not provoked by anything and that could destabilize the already fragile situation in the region,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

“The situation is tense,” Peskov said, adding that Russia is calling for an “unprejudiced and objective investigation before making judgements” on the suspected use of chemical weapons.

Russia has said its military specialists found no evidence of a chemical attack on Saturday in Douma and suggested that rebels staged or spread rumors of an attack to pin the blame on Damascus.

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