Russia threatens ‘gravest consequences’ if U.S. crosses red line by taking military action in response to alleged chemical attack in Syria

Russia threatens ‘gravest consequences’ if U.S. crosses red line by taking military action in response to alleged chemical attack in Syria

The New York Times reports:

Dozens of Syrians choked to death after a suspected chemical attack struck the rebel-held suburb of Douma, east of Damascus, and aid groups on Sunday blamed President Bashar al-Assad’s government for the assault.

The attack after dusk on Saturday sent a stream of patients with burning eyes and breathing problems to clinics, medical and rescue groups said. Western governments expressed alarm at the attack, with the British Foreign Office calling for an urgent investigation and saying that if the use of chemical weapons proved to be true, “it is further proof of Assad’s brutality.”

The United States government said it was working to verify that chemical weapons had been used. A new, confirmed chemical attack in Syria would pose a dilemma for President Trump, who ordered military strikes on a Syrian air base after a chemical attack last year to punish Mr. Assad but has more recently said he wants to get the United States out of Syria. [Continue reading…]

The Associated Press reports:

Trump’s homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, noted the timing of the suspected chemical attack — almost a year to the day of the U.S. missile strikes.

“This isn’t just the United States. This is one of those issues on which every nation, all peoples, have all agreed and have agreed since World War II, it’s an unacceptable practice,” Bossert told ABC’s “This Week.”

Asked about the potential for another American missile strike in response, Bossert said: “I wouldn’t take anything off the table. These are horrible photos. We’re looking into the attack at this point.” He said Trump’s national security team has been talking with the president about the situation.

Trump laid some blame on his predecessor, Barack Obama, for Assad’s continued grip on power after years of civil war.

Obama had threatened the Syrian leader with military action after a chemical weapons attack killed hundreds outside Damascus, saying the use of such weapons was a “red line.” American ships in the Mediterranean were poised to launch missiles, but Obama pulled back after key U.S. ally Britain, as well as Congress, balked at his plan.

He opted for a Russian-backed proposal that was supposed to remove and eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

“If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!” Trump said in his series of Sunday tweets. [Continue reading…]

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