Trump says US to respond to 'heinous' Syria attack in 24-48 hours

WASHINGTON, dpa correspondents (dpa)– US President Donald Trump on Monday condemned as "heinous" and "atrocious" an alleged chemical attack in Syria and said his administration will respond in the next 24 to 48 hours.
"It was atrocious. It was horrible," Trump said, adding that "this is about humanity and it can't be allowed to happen."

On Saturday, an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, a rebel-held pocket outside of Syrian capital Damascus, killed at least 70 people, including children.
"We are studying that situation extremely closely ... and will be making some major decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours," Trump told a cabinet meeting.
US Defence Secretary James Mattis said earlier Monday that Washington has not ruled out military action against the Syrian government following the attack.
"I don't rule out anything right now," Mattis said, when asked by a journalist if the US would take action and launch airstrikes against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Pentagon chief said that "the first thing we have to look at is why are chemical weapons still being used at all when Russia was the framework guarantor of removing all the chemical weapons."
Trump said: "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."
Western capitals are blaming al-Assad's forces for the attack in Douma, and Trump already vowed that there would be a "big price to pay." Syrian ally Russia said there is no evidence of a chemical attack by al-Assad's troops.
The Syrian government has previously been accused of several chemical weapons attacks, including one last April, after which Trump launched missiles at a Syrian airbase, saying he was disturbed by the pictures of suffering children.
Evacuations of Douma are continuing following the attack, as rebels surrender their last territory outside Damascus owing to a bloody military campaign ongoing since February. More than 1,600 civilians are estimated to have been killed.
The US is meanwhile pushing for the UN Security Council to agree on a new Syria chemical weapons investigation after the attack in Douma.
The US mission to the UN circulated a new draft text on Monday and is urging the 15-member council to discuss reviving the investigative mechanism which attributes blame for chemical attacks in Syria, a UN Security Council diplomat told dpa.
Russia vetoed an extension of the previous mechanism last November after the previous probe issued a report holding the Syrian government responsible for sarin gas attacks in Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017.

Tuesday, April 10th 2018
dpa correspondents (dpa)

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