Trump condemns Syria attack but won't telegraph USA response


USA officials from President Donald Trump on down have expressed outrage at the apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria, and have suggested that retaliatory action is being considered against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, either by a multinational response or alone. But Trump said Tuesday's attack "had a big impact on me - big impact". After all, Trump's first reaction to the attack was to blame Obama's "weakness" in earlier years for enabling Assad.

The United States and other Western countries accuse the Assad government of carrying out a chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Trump continued to lay blame for the situation in Syria on his predecessor, President Obama, saying his failure to enforce his "red line" threat against the use of chemical weapons set the global community back in responding to Assad.

While today's comments are the sharpest against Assad the president himself has made, his administration has more or less continued the Obama-era policy of objecting to Assad's rule but accepting the reality that he is firmly in control.

"I think the Obama administration had a great opportunity to solve this crisis a long time ago when he said the red line in the sand", Trump said.

"I don't think anybody could possibly, reasonably oppose such a resolution in all conscience", Johnson said.

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Several countries, including the US, have blamed Syrian government forces for the attack in which scores of people appeared to choke to death in Khan Sheikhoun, a rebel-held area of northern Syria. "I told them that we need clarity. It is now my responsibility".

On Wednesday, Trump said the latest attack had changed his views.

As for some big "shift" in US policy, it's supposed to be found in statements uttered last week by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the USA ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, to the effect that fighting ISIL is now the American priority in Syria, and Assad isn't going anywhere.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said last week that forcing Assad from power was no longer a priority for the US.

In a statement, World Health Organization noted that: "The likelihood of exposure to a chemical attack is amplified by an apparent lack of external injuries reported in cases showing a rapid onset of similar symptoms, including acute respiratory distress as the main cause of death".

It's not entirely confirmed what the chemicals were, but experts suspect a powerful nerve agent.

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"When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action", she said.

"My attitude towards Syria and Assad has changed very much", he said.

The president released a statement Tuesday condemning the attack as "reprehensible".

Abdullah has been a leader in the fight against the Islamic State, Trump said.

In January 2016, Kerry enraged Syrian opposition groups when he met with them in Saudi Arabia and announced that the White House expected them to accept the preconditions Russian Federation and Iran had set down for their involvement in peace talks. "I now have responsibility", he added. They noted that US presidents have rarely attacked their predecessors so aggressively for events like chemical weapons attacks that Democrats and Republicans both abhor.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the resolution "unacceptable" and said it was based on "fake information".

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Trump's relationship with Russian Federation has deteriorated since the presidential election campaign, when Trump praised Putin as a strong leader and vowed to improve relations between the two countries, including a more coordinated effort to defeat Islamic State in Syria.