Published: Thu, April 06, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump calls chemical attack in Syria disgusting and unspeakable — Geopolitics

Following a 2013 chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1400 people outside of Damascus which a USA government intelligence assessment concluded likely used a nerve agent, the Obama administration threatened retaliation but ultimately called off planned airstrikes after Assad agreed to turn over the majority of his chemical weapons arsenal to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an global watchdog group.

President Trump condemned the horrific chemical attack in Syria that has been blamed on its president, Bashar al-Assad, signaling a shift in Trump's approach toward the country's controversial leader - but didn't elaborate on how the USA would respond.

The new incident means Trump is faced with same dilemma that faced his predecessor: whether to openly challenge Moscow and risk deep involvement in a Middle East war by seeking to punish Assad for using banned weapons, or compromise and accept the Syrian leader remaining in power at the risk of looking weak.Trump described Tuesday's incident as "heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime", but also faulted Obama for having failed to enforce the red line four years ago. But Trump said Tuesday's attack "had a big impact on me - big impact".

Haley's strong rebuke of Russian Federation came as President Donald Trump offered his first spoken comments on the apparent gas attack Wednesday, telling reporters it was "horrible, disgusting what happened" and "is a awful affront to humanity".

"They've taken in an unbelievable number of refugees and they are relatively poor countries", Gabriel said. A Syrian war journalist said this would help draw more media attention to the story.

He added he didn't see anyone who looked like a combatant among the dead.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council plans an emergency session midday Wednesday on the attack.

Speaking at the start of major worldwide meeting in Brussels on the future of Syria, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said "all the evidence" he has seen suggests the Assad regime carried out the attacks, and said it was impossible to imagine the regime having any legitimate authority over the war-torn country.

Asked if the regime's alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people crossed a "red line" for the new USA administration, Mr Trump said: "It crossed a lot of lines for me".

Mounzer called Syria the victim of "falsification and fabrication" by some permanent members of the Security Council and "armed terrorist groups" backed by several United Nations member states.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley lashed out at Russian Federation for failing to rein in its ally Syria. He said the strikes did not cause any casualties because the area had been evacuated following Tuesday's attack. "I still have family in Syria, so watching these horrific images and hearing about these stories are heartbreaking", he said.

Wednesday's renewed airstrikes hit not far from the location of the suspected chemical attack, said Ahmed al-Sheikho, of the Idlib Civil Defence team.

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"Do we think he's a hindrance? Yes. In essence, nearly nodding to the idea that Assad was going to get to stay in some capacity", Rubio said on the show "AM Tampa Bay". "No", she said last week.

He also called on the worldwide community to take immediate action.

The draft UN Security Council statement, drawn up by Washington, London and Paris, condemns the attack and demands an investigation. John McCain told CNN on Wednesday that Tillerson's comment was "one of the more incredible statements I've ever heard" and that he was sure that the Assad regime was "encouraged to know that the United States is withdrawing" from the conflict.

Four years ago, after warning Assad that a chemical attack would cross a red line and trigger USA action, Obama failed to follow through. He claimed that former President Barack Obama's failure to approach to Syria in 2012 created the conditions for the attack. "It was said that the militants use this weapon, this was proven, moreover, documented and certified by Russian experts", Dolgov concluded.

When asked if there would be a new direction in how the White House deals with Syria, he said vaguely: "You will see".

Medic Hazem Shehwan told AFP he saw victims with "pinpoint pupils, convulsions, foaming at the mouth and rapid pulses". "If there were no supportive care or ICU, people were dying". Fifty of the injured have already been relocated to Turkey, she said.

The Syrian government has consistently denied using chemical weapons and chlorine gas, accusing the rebels of deploying it in the war instead.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said that at least 72 people were killed, making it the deadliest chemical assault since 2013, when the Syrian government dropped sarin on the Damascus suburbs, killing hundreds of people as they slept, and bringing the United States and Europe to the verge of military intervention.

On that compound, he said, there was a facility "to produce ammunition with the use of toxic weapons" which was supposed to be used in Iraq and Aleppo.

The UN's children's agency UNICEF echoed calls for action following this latest atrocity.

In his opinion the chemical weapons were not used by the Syrian army because it's absurd to use such weapons on the territory of one's own country, in the area where the government's army is operating and especially against the civilian population. More than 400,000 people are believed to have been killed and millions displaced since the crisis broke out.

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