DONALD Trump is lining up an all-out blitz on up to EIGHT targets in Syria - after US officials said they had proof Bashar al Assad gassed his own people.
Sources in the US last night claimed America was considering striking a number of sites including two Syrian airfields, a research centre and a chemical weapons facility.
The revelation came as two US officials said blood and urine samples from some of the 70 victims of the deadly chemical attack in Douma last weekend showed traces of chlorine gas and a nerve agent – most likely Sarin.
NBC said the pair were “confident” in the intelligence, which emerged as senior staff thrashed out the Pentagon’s likely plan of action at a National Security Council meeting.
Experts said airstrikes could come this weekend given French and British backing.
President Trump had plunged the West into fresh uncertainty by appearing to suggest he was having second thoughts on military action.
The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman departs with its strike group towards Syria from
Taking to Twitter, the President said: “I never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”
But challenged about Syria just hours later, he told the US media: “We’re looking very seriously, very closely at that whole situation and we’ll see what happens folks.”
French President Emmanuel Macron separately insisted the West had “proof” Assad was behind the Douma massacre.
And he said France and the US would decide on a response “at a time of our choosing, when we judge it to be the most useful and the most effective”.
Theresa May secured the support of her Cabinet after two hours of crunch talks in Downing Street last night.
Tory MPs also told The Sun they would back military strikes – including a number of Tories who voted against action in 2013. Two US Navy destroyers armeed with Tomahawk cruise missles are in position as well as jets and subs.
Sources in the Middle East said Bashar al Assad had left his palace in Syria for Iran – his close ally alongside Russia.
Syria’s military was also said to be moving jets to Russian-controlled airfields in the hopes that Washington would leave these alone.
In a sign of a desperate attempt to stop any reprisals escalating into a full blown war, the Kremlin said a hotline between Russian and US military in Syria was “active”.
Russia also stepped up a frantic round of diplomacy with Vladimir Putin ringing both Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Israeli PM Benjamin Nethanyahu.
Last night Russia called an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council for today.
Russia’s UN ambassador said his top diplomatic priority was to avert a full conflict, though he didn’t rule it out.