Russia warns US of proportional response to any preemptive measures against Syrian forces as US official calls intelligence behind warning ‘far from conclusive’

US defence secretary James Mattis has said that Syria appears to have heeded a warning from Washington not to carry out a chemical weapons attack.

Meanwhile Russia, the main backer of President Bashar al-Assad, warned that it would respond proportionately if the US took preemptive measures against Syrian forces.

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