Flares are seen in the sky during fighting in the Islamic State's final enclave, in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria March 11, 2019 (Reuters/Rodi Said)

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran and Syria on Monday demanded the United States withdraw its troops from Syria, and the Damascus government threatened to defeat Washington's Kurdish allies by force if they did not submit to the return of state authority.

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Unless the Russian navy is hunting for the Red October in the eastern Mediterranean, it is likely that so many Russian ships have remained there since the end of Moscow's latest naval exercise there primarily to support Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Pentagon officials said.

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President Donald Trump's national security adviser issued a crystal clear warning to Syria on Monday, stressing that if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons again, it will face a "much stronger" response than before.

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Wikimedia Commons

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he will visit North Korea at a date and time to be determined to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, in what is sure to be a historic meeting of two of the world's biggest super-villains.

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The US, UK, and France's missile strike on Syria's suspected chemical weapons sites involved 105 missiles fired from air and sea to rain down thousands of pounds of explosives on three sites across the country - but Israeli intelligence officers reportedly called it a failure.

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Sputnik/Associated Press/Mikhail Voskresenskiy

UPDATE: This story has been updated with comments from Defense Secretary James Mattis.

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