by WorldTribune Staff, April 8, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump warned on April 8 there would be a “big price to pay” for those backing the Assad regime in Syria following a reported chemical attack by Assad’s forces that killed at least 70 people.
“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad,” Trump tweeted.
Russia and Iran are the top allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Union of Medical Relief Organizations, a U.S.-based charity that works with Syrian hospitals, told the BBC the Damascus Rural Specialty Hospital had confirmed 70 deaths in the suspected chemical attack on Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus.
Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a medical relief group, also alleged that a chlorine bomb hit the hospital in Douma, killing six people, and that a second attack using “mixed agents,” including nerve gas, had hit another building.
Syria’s state news agency Sana said the reports were invented by the Jaish al-Islam rebels who remain in control in Douma.
“Jaish al-Islam terrorists are in a state of collapse and their media outlets are [making] chemical attack fabrications in an exposed and failed attempt to obstruct advances by the Syrian Arab army,” Sana said.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said “The [Syrian] regime’s history of using chemical weapons against its own people is not in dispute.”
“Russia, with its unwavering support for the regime, ultimately bears responsibility for the brutal targeting of countless Syrians with chemical weapons,” Nauert said in an April 7 statement. “By shielding its ally Syria, Russia has breached its commitments to the United Nations as a framework guarantor.”
The “United States calls on Russia to end this unmitigated support immediately and work with the international community to prevent further, barbaric chemical weapons attacks.”
Trump also laid some of the blame for the suspected chemical attack on former President Barack Obama, who chose not to take action against the Assad regime after saying the use of chemical weapons was a “red line.”
“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 tweeted.
Sen. Lindsey Graham told ABC in response to Trump’s tweets that this marks a “defining moment” for the president.
“He has challenged Assad in the past not to use chemical weapons,” said Graham, adding, “if it becomes a tweet without meaning then he’s hurt himself in North Korea, if he doesn’t follow through and live up to that tweet, he’s going to look weak in the eyes of Russia and Iran.”
Graham urged Trump to “show a resolve that Obama never did to get this right.”