Toxic attack kills 58 in Syria, military denies involvement

Sean Spicer

Sean Spicer

Spicer said such "heinous actions" resulted from "weakness and irresolution" by the previous Obama administration in dealing with the Syrian crisis.

In August 2016, Bashar al-Jaafari, Assad's representative at the United Nations, blamed the 2013 sarin gas attack on Damascus' Ghouta suburb on French intelligence, a claim later refuted by OPCW.

The OPCW had no immediate comment on Tuesday.

The political tone of Trump's statement took many USA officials by surprise.

Since the 2013 deal, the U.S. government has changed hands and the Trump administration has taken a decidely less hard stance on the long-term future of president Bashar al-Assad.

He would not, however, say whether the White House believed Russian Federation played a role in the attack, but added President Donald Trump had been briefed. The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

"Those who defend and support him, including Russian Federation and Iran, should have no illusions about Assad or his intentions", Tillerson said in a statement. Tillerson called on both countries to use their influence over Assad to prevent future chemical weapons attacks, and noted Russia's and Iran's roles in helping broker a cease-fire through diplomatic talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

The attack caused many people to choke or faint, and some had foam coming out of their mouths, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, citing medical sources who described it as a sign of a gas attack.

However, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the alleged chemical attack near Idlib "bears all the hallmarks" of the Syrian government.

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.

The twin statements illustrated the competing forces pulling at the Trump administration.

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What Obama could have done differently to prevent the carnage now engulfing Syria is a big question that is going to be debated for some time.

"Our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out", Haley told wire reporters last week, according to AFP.

But America's Arab and European allies oppose any accommodation with Assad.

"Obviously there is a primary responsibility there of the regime because it has responsibility of protecting its people not attacking its people", she said.

October 14, 2013: Syria becomes a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, prohibiting it from producing, stockpiling, or using chemical weapons.

The chapter was seen internationally as a major blow to US credibility and, for Obama's critics, a prime example of weak leadership. The attack would not be the first time regime forces have been accused of using chemical attacks against their own people.

Trump, Gordon noted, was facing the same dilemma and lack of solutions that plagued Obama's deliberations. During the campaign, while Clinton was promising to get tough on Assad, Trump had praised him, if for no other reason than that he was battling the Islamic State. -Russian deal, averting the threat of USA -led military intervention.

Although chlorine gas has been used by some rebels groups, no credible evidence exists of the opposition using or having access to nerve agents.

Spicer said Obama had more options when he declared a red line against chemical weapons in 2012.

Reasonable people can disagree with that view, but one person who doesn't disagree, though he may think he does, is Donald Trump. Among his tweets on the matter, he urged Obama in all caps, "DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA - IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN".

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