Syria

White House officials say the U.S. intelligence community is confident that Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked his own people with chemical weapons on April 4 — and that an alternative explanation offered by Russia is an effort to deflect blame and "confuse the world community."

Senior administration officials "suggested that the attack may have been motivated by rebel gains in the surrounding area, as rebel forces approached a strategic Syrian air base," NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

Fresh tensions as Secretary of State Tillerson readies to visit Moscow –from the Syria strikes to the investigations into Trump’s Russia ties. Where is this relationship headed?

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling the missile strike President Trump ordered against Syria on Thursday "an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext."

President Trump issued a remarkable statement following a Syrian gas attack U.S. officials say was leveled by that country's leader against his own people.

Some 40 words of the short, 78-word statement blamed former President Barack Obama for inaction.

Violence in Syria took a horrible toll on the country's children last year, the United Nations' children's agency says, with the civil war blamed for killing at least 652 children — 255 of whom were either in or near a school.

In another unsettling trend, 851 children were recruited and used in the conflict in 2016 — double the figure who were recruited in 2015, UNICEF says. The agency says that children's deaths rose 20 percent and injuries rose by 25 percent.

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