During the early morning hours on Tuesday, warplanes reportedly dropped toxic gas on civilians in the Idlib province of northern Syria, leading to at least 70 deaths and 100 more people injured. The toll has continued to rise as more information comes to light.
After the attack, President Donald Trump issued a statement that many have called a game-changer.
“That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. Big impact,” Trump said before admitting that his feelings toward Syria and President Bashar al-Assad had “changed.”
The attack has been widely publicized, with images and video showing the truly heinous nature of chemical warfare. President Trump and other Western nations blamed Assad for the attack, and while his involvement has not yet been verified, the incident was reminiscent of 2013, when it was widely believed that Assad used his forces to drop sarin, another chemical compound, on his own people in Ghouta, Syria.
That attack should have prompted military action from the United States, as then-President Barack Obama had warned Assad in 2012 that the use of chemical warfare on his people would be crossing a “red line” and that the United States would take military action. That never happened. Instead Obama went soft on Syria, brokering a deal to get Syria to remove its stockpile of chemical weapons.
Now that decision is coming back to bite, not Obama, but the new United States president.
“I inherited a mess … Whether it is North Korea or the Middle East … We are going to fix it.” Trump said in a conference on Wednesday with King Abdullah II of Jordan, according to The Washington Times.
Trump also made a shock statement that left many people wondering just what will happen next.
“My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much,” Trump said from the White House garden. “These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated.”
While it is unclear what, if any, actions the United States will be taking against Syria, when questioned about a possible retaliation Trump stated, “I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or another, but I’m certainly not going to be telling you,” indicating that talk of military action was what got Obama in trouble with his red-line debacle in 2013.
The red line has been crossed again, but this time we have a new president. Will this latest incident lead to U.S. military action against Syria? Only time will tell, because President Trump is wisely keeping tight-lipped about his next move.
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