World News

Assad adviser says Syrian government, allies consulting

FILE PHOTO - Bouthaina Shaaban, advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaks to the media after a meeting at the Geneva Conference on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian government and its allies are in consultation over U.S. threats of military action and have “options, an adviser to President Bashar al-Assad was quoted as saying in an interview with a Lebanese channel on Wednesday.

Bouthaina Shaaban told al-Mayadeen that the Syrian government and its main ally Russia had made preparations after Israel’s strike on Sunday against the T-4 airfield near Homs, the channel reported.

The West was waging a “psychological war” after the defeat of rebels in eastern Ghouta, she added, pointing to what she called contradictory statements between different branches of the U.S. government.

Earlier on Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said that American missiles “will be coming” to Syria as Western countries discussed military action over a suspected chemical weapons attack in eastern Ghouta on Sunday.

However, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States was still assessing evidence over who was behind the attack, which it has said bears the hallmark of Assad’s forces.

“Consultations are ongoing between the allies and they will not let matters progress as Washington wants,” Shaaban told al-Mayadeen, describing the alliance as including Syria, Iran, Russia and the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

“The rules of engagement have changed in favour of Damascus,” as its position in the war has grown stronger, she added.

Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Angus MacSwan