Trump weighs military options in Syria

Henrietta Brewer
April 15, 2018

Britain's government weighed the possibility of military action against Syria on Thursday, agreeing the "need to take action" despite polls showing the public remains wary of military intervention.

President Donald Trump announced on Friday he ordered strikes on the Syrian regime in response to a chemical weapons attack last weekend.

Worldwide observers with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have yet to reach the Damascus suburb of Douma, where the attack took place.

Half a world away in New York, Russia's United Nations ambassador warned the priority in Syria was to avert US-led strikes that could lead to a risky confrontation between the world's two preeminent nuclear powers.

"Our president has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria", Haley told a Security Council meeting.

In the call, the two leaders had agreed that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "had established a pattern of unsafe behaviour in relation to the use of chemical weapons", Downing Street said.

The drumbeat of military action appeared to grow louder, as Russian Federation stonewalled diplomatic efforts at the United Nations and France declared "proof" that Moscow's Syrian ally carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack that killed more than 40 Syrians.

Japan has also refrained from joining the United States and other countries in alleging Russia was responsible for the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain last month.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany won't participate in possible military action in Syria, but supports sending a message that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.

The Times and the Daily Telegraph newspapers reported that the cabinet would back May in joining any US-led action, as Royal Navy submarines armed with cruise missiles were moving into range.

A top leader of Jaish al-Islam, a group which controlled Douma for years, told AFP it was Saturday's attack that forced them to accept a Russian-brokered deal and evacuate.

Trump indicated the strikes would continue until the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons ends.

Some lawmakers, meanwhile, are warning the administration that military action in Syria would require congressional authorization, though House Speaker Paul Ryan downplayed those concerns during a news conference.

"We will try to make it better but it is a troubled place", Trump said.

Earlier in the week, Trump suggested he was committed to ordering strikes in Syria. She has said the use of chemical weapons "cannot go unchallenged".

British lawmakers voted down taking military action against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force.

Syrian opposition activists and rescuers say a chemical attack launched by government forces in a rebel-held area near Damascus late Saturday killed more than 40 people, allegations denied by the Syrian government.

"That was the first step in this process, but we're continuing to look at a number of options", she said.

He accused Washington of putting global peace at risk and said the situation was "very dangerous".

Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had "proof" that the Syrian government had attacked Douma with chemical weapons, without giving further details. The sites reportedly include "two Syrian airfields, a research center and a chemical weapons facility".

The Russian ministry says 1,500 left the town in the past 24 hours.

Other reports by iNewsToday