WASHINGTON – The United States will make “major decisions” on Syria within the next 24 to 48 hours, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday, referring to U.S. reaction to Sunday’s chemical attack in Syria which left dozens dead.
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“This is about humanity, and it can’t be allowed to happen,” Trump continued. He said that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to the U.S.’s possible response.
Trump pledged that the U.S. will find out who was responsible for the attack, saying “If it’s the Russians, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran, if it’s all of them together, we’ll figure it out,” he said.
The U.S. and the UK later said the gas attack bore hallmarks of Bashar Assad’s government. Following a telephone call between British foreign minister Boris Johnson and acting U.S. Secretary of State John Sullivan, a spokeswoman said “based on current media reports and reports from those on the ground, this attack bore hallmarks of previous chemical weapons attacks by the Assad regime.”
In one of the earliest reports on the chemical attacks on Sunday, the Syrian volunteer rescue group the White Helmets wrote on Twitter that a helicopter had dropped a barrel bomb filled with chemicals on Douma, killing at least 40 people and injuring hundreds.
“Entire families in shelters gassed to death in Douma, eastern Ghouta, hiding in their cellars, suffocated from the poisonous gas bringing the initial death toll to more than 40,” the organization said on Twitter.
The tweet was accompanied by images of apparent victims of the alleged attack, including children, who were foaming at the mouths.
Earlier on Monday, the Russian military said that two Israeli F-15 war planes carried out airstrikes on a Syrian air base near Homs on Sunday, the Interfax news agency reported. 14 people were reportedly killed in the strike, at least four of them Iranians.
Interfax cited the Russian Defense Ministry as saying the Israeli war planes had carried out the strikes from Lebanese air space. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that the strike was “a dangerous development.”
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