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Donald Trump blames Obama, Bashar al-Assad for toxic gas attack in Syria

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has strongly condemned a suspected chemical attack in Syria that killed 58 people, calling it “reprehensible”, and alleged such acts are consequences of the Obama administration’s weakness.

“Tuesday’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilised world,” Trump said in a statement yesterday.

“These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime is a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution,” he said.

Trump claimed that Obama in 2012 said that he would establish a red line against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. He said the US stands with its allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack.

Earlier in the day, Trump was briefed by his national security team on the yesterday’s attack on the town of Khan Sheikhun that claimed at least 58 lives and saw dozens suffer respiratory problems and symptoms including vomiting, fainting and foaming at the mouth.

Meanwhile, talking about America’s future course of action following the attack, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “Going forward we will have more on this, but I think we want to be very clear where we stand. I know countries throughout Europe are reaching out, making it clear what their position is. There’s been some calls for action, the UN Security Council.”

“I think, at this point, as things develop, I’m not ready to talk about our next step, but we’ll get there soon,” he said. Asked if he would like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down or thrown out of power, Spicer said it is in the best interest of the Syrian people to not have anybody who would do this kind of heinous acts.

“Any leader that treats their people with this kind of activity and death and destruction…I don’t think that anybody would wish this upon anybody,” he said. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also condemned the suspected chemical attack, which is reportedly the third of its kind in the last one month.

“There are reports of dozens dead, including many children. While we continue to monitor the terrible situation, it is clear that this is how Bashar al-Assad operates with brutal, unabashed barbarism,” he said.

“Those who defend and support him, including Russia and Iran, should have no illusions about Assad or his intentions. Anyone who uses chemical weapons to attack his own people shows a fundamental disregard for human decency and must be held accountable,” Tillerson said.

He said that it is also clear that the “horrific” conflict in Syria demands a genuine ceasefire and the supporters of the armed combatants in the region need to ensure compliance.

“We call upon Russia and Iran, yet again, to exercise their influence over the Syrian regime and to guarantee that this sort of horrific attack never happens again. As the self-proclaimed guarantors to the ceasefire negotiated in Astana, Russia and Iran also bear great moral responsibility for these deaths,” he added.

 

PTI