President Donald Trump slammed Syria for what he said was a chemical weapons attack on civilians. Trump said that the regime will pay a “big price” for its actions, raising prospects of a missile strike on the country. Trump laid the blame for the chemical attack partly on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russian forces have been in Syria for years and have helped keep the Assad regime in power.
According to President Trump, there’s no doubt that Assad’s military has used chemical weapons to attack Douma, a rebel-held suburb in Damascus. 42 people were killed in the attack including women and children, and dozens were also injured.
The White House has been mulling over a response since Saturday. Trump’s homeland security adviser Thomas P. Bossert confirmed that he and other senior security advisers have been in talks with the President about a possible response, including a potential missile strike on Syria. A year ago, Trump administration dropped 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase after a sarin gas attack blamed on regime forces killed over 80 people. It will not be a surprise if the White House takes the same action this time.
Trump’s condemnation of the chemical attacks in Syria comes barely days after the President expressed his wish to withdraw the US troops from Syria. Trump is expected to meet military chiefs at the White House this week to discuss the response. The United Nations also announced an emergency meeting for the chemical weapons attack. US ambassador to the UN Nikki R. Haley demanded an independent investigation on the “massacre” urging the UN to hold all those responsible for the “atrocious act” accountable.
Several GOP members also urged the President to act fast. Senator John McCain said that Trump’s contemplation to rapidly withdraw US troops from Syria encouraged the Assad regime to launch an attack on his people. McCain blamed American inaction for all this and urged the President to respond decisively as he did the last time Syrian forces used chemical weapons on rebels.
The same sentiments were also shared by Lindsey Graham. The North Carolina Senator urged the president to follow through with his tweets. Graham warned that failure to quickly respond to the chemical attack would make America look weak in the eyes of Russia and Iran.
Trump criticized former President Barack Obama for failing to take military action against the Assad regime after a chemical attack in 2013. However, it should be noted that at the time Trump was fiercely opposed to American involvement in Syria. He said that the Syrian civil war was not America’s problem.
Nonetheless, Russia and the Syrian government have both denied the use of chemical weapons in Douma calling the entire incident a “hoax.” Kremlin says that any military action against the Assad regime would have devastating consequences.