United States President Donald Trump has said the chemical attack on Syria's Idlib province affected his deeply and tranformed his thinking about the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
United States President Donald Trump has said the chemical attack on Syria’s Idlib province affected his deeply and tranformed his thinking about the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. “I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me – big impact. My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much … You’re now talking about a whole different level,” the Guardian quoted Trump as saying. However, during a joint press conference with King Abdullah of Jordan on Wednesday, Trump once again castigated his predecessor Barack Obama and his administration for drawing and then failing to enforce a “red line” over Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
“I think that set us back a long ways, not only in Syria but in many other parts of the world because it was a blank threat,” Trump said. “The chemical attack crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal – people were shocked to hear what gas it was. That crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines,” he added.
When asked if he would opt for military intervention to oust Assad, Trump said, “I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or another, but I’m certainly not going to be telling you … Militarily, I don’t like to say where I’m going and what I’m doing.” Dozens of people, including at least ten children, were killed and over 200 injured as a result of asphyxiation caused by exposure to an unknown gas on Tuesday.
According to Anas al-Diab, an activist with the Aleppo Media Center, airstrikes hit the city of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province giving off a poisonous gas that led to this asphyxiation. Three more strikes hit the same city center location but did not result in any gas, al-Diab added. Activists said the Syrian regime dropped a chemical bomb and was responsible for the killings, leading the United Nations to replace a scheduled Security Council session for Wednesday morning with an emergency meeting.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military denied using chemical weapons and blamed rebels for the carnage. The death toll is said to be at least 67, according to al-Diab, while the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported it to be 58. The High Negotiations Committee claimed the death toll could be as high as 100 with up to 400 injured.