President Donald Trump signaled that a US missile strike on Syria is imminent after a suspected chemical attack killed dozens of civilians in Douma, northeast of the capital Damascus, over the weekend.
It was earlier report that the USA requested on Tuesday a United Nations vote at 1900 GMT on Syria chemical inquiry.
Both Trump and his defense secretary Jim Mattis abruptly cancelled upcoming travel plans, as the USS Donald Cook - a guided-missile destroyer - moved to within striking range of Syria.
Syrian opposition activists, rescue workers and medics allege that bombs filled with toxic chemicals were dropped on Douma, in the Eastern Ghouta region, near the capital Damascus, by Syrian government forces.
The attack in Douma happened late on Saturday amid a resumed offensive by Syrian government forces after the collapse of a truce with the Army of Islam rebel group. But the incident has thrust Syria's seven-year-old conflict back to the forefront of global concern.
"At midnight, the army command put all military positions on alert, including airports and all bases, for a period of 72 hours", the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on April 10. It added that any delays would only play into the hands of those who desire to use the reported incident as a pretext to launch an attack on Syria.
A second defeated Moscow-drafted resolution would have offered backing for the fact-finding mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to Syria, but would not identify the perpetrators of attacks.
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But whether a team would try to get there was unclear.
Pierce earlier accused Russian Federation of abusing "the power of veto to protect Syria".
President Bashar al-Assad's government - which receives military backing from Russian Federation - denies being behind any chemical attack.
Russian Federation vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria.
The warning follows reports of major military movements by the United States and France in the region, after a chemical attack on an opposition enclave near Damascus on Saturday killed over 40 civilians.
The US did provide Russian Federation with advance warning via military channels shortly prior to the April 2017 missile strike on the Syrian air base believed responsible for a previous chemical weapons attack.