Trump condemns Syria attack but won't telegraph U.S. response

Cheryl Sanders
April 6, 2017

A United Nations report found that the nerve agent sarin gas had been used to kill civilians in that attack, in which activists say around 1,4000 people were killed.

While continuing to blame predecessor Barack Obama for much of the current situation in Syria, he acknowledged that dealing with the crisis is now his own responsibility and vowed to "carry it very proudly".

Russian Federation on Wednesday claimed the horrific chemical weapon attack on an opposition-held city in northern Syria was from a bomb hitting the rebels' own arsenal.

But US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has previously said that Assad's ouster was not a priority for President Donald Trump's administration.

August 20, 2012: U.S. President Barack Obama says the use of chemical weapons would be a "red line" that would change his calculus on intervening in the civil war and have "enormous consequences".

As Trump and other world leaders scrambled for a response, the US was working to lock down details proving Assad's culpability.

While some rebels hailed Trump's statement as an apparent shift in the United States position, others said it was too early to say whether the comments would result in a real change in policy. The Trump administration has issued two executive orders suspending all Syrians from entering the US, although federal judges have blocked both of them.

The President condemned the attack as "heinous".

The United Nations Security Council has convened an urgent meeting to uncover what happened and formulate a response to the attack. But he pointedly refused to say what action the US might take in response.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking in Brussels, said Wednesday that "all evidence" now available "suggests this was the Assad regime who did it in the full knowledge that they were using illegal weapons in a barbaric attack on their own people".

September 27, 2013: The U.N. Security Council orders Syria to account for and destroy its chemical weapons stockpile, following a surprise agreement between Washington and Moscow, averting US strikes.

Though Trump has assigned no blame to Russian Federation or Iran - Assad's two staunchest allies - both Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have argued adamantly that both must use their influence to prevent Assad from mounting further attacks.

The best option would be united action by the Security Council, he said when asked about possible unilateral action by the United States.

"We've got a lot of killers", he said back in February.

Victims show signs of suffocation, convulsions, foaming at the mouth, and pupil constriction.

"I personally do not believe that it's coincidental", he concluded. "This is the moment for President Trump to prove to everyone that when it comes to foreign policy and standing up to dictators, he is not President Obama". "And he knows how to fight", he added.

His comments came just a few days after USA statements suggesting a focus on stopping Islamic State militants rather than ousting Mr Assad.

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the UN, said the attacks have "all the hallmarks" of Assad's government and the US may take action if the UN Security Council fails to act.

Canada along with the United States is the largest national donor to the Joint Investigative Mechanism that was created by the UN and the OPCW, Freeland said. Chlorine, which has legitimate uses as well, isn't banned under that convention except when used in a weapon.

Rycroft said the Russian and Chinese vetoes in February sent Assad a message of encouragement and Tuesday's attack was "the effect". However, Russia's Defence Ministry later said that on April 4, the Syrian air force had delivered an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Shaykhun to destroy militant facilities used to produce chemical munitions.

Other reports by iNewsToday