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With the Middle East on edge and many fearing inadvertent triggering of a regional war, it's easy to forget that not so long ago President Donald Trump shocked advisers by declaring his intention to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and "let others take care of it now". Now, Trump is threatening imminent military strikes against the Syrian government forces he blames for a suspected chemical gas attack and rattling a saber at Syria's patron, Russia. Russia has warned the United States that a strike on Syria could trigger a potential major showdown between the two former Cold War adversaries – a prospect not considered in decades. A senior Russian lawmaker said Wednesday that Russia would engage its warships in the Mediterranean Sea to protect Russian assets in Syria from a U.S. strike.With the suspected gas attack in Douma, he feels obliged to keep his word and strike again, presumably with a more forceful response than last year, which apparently did not deter future chemical attacks.Others include Shayrat, the base the U.S. hit with 59 cruise missiles in April 2017 in retaliation for the suspected sarin gas attack, and T4, the base targeted by the suspected Israeli airstrike this week.
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