One dead in raid on Syria 'chemical attack' town: monitor
- Author: Joanne Flowers Apr 09, 2017,
Apr 09, 2017, 12:42
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin: "I commend President Trump's decisive actions in Syria and fundamentally believe that the United States can not and must not accept the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime on innocent civilians to become the norm".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have discussed the U.S. missile strike on Syria's Shayrat airbase in a phone call, the ministry said Saturday.
The political side effect, meanwhile, could burnish Trump's defense against claims he is too close to Russian Federation amid ongoing federal probes into whether Moscow tried to swing the 2016 election his way.
The Syrian Observatory said the United States strike on the base killed eight Syrian military staff, including an army doctor. Marco Rubio, a Trump 2016 rival. Trump did not change his mind because of sad pictures.
The U.S. Navy launched 59 cruise missiles on Thursday in response to the attack in the northern Idlib province that killed at least 80 civilians, including 20 children in what President Donald Trump had called "a disgrace to humanity". Their repeated efforts to come up with a cease-fire plan for Syria were scuttled by developments on the ground.
The White House said the air strikes were a retaliatory measure following the suspected use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime and were targeted at Syrian troops to avoid civilians.
But it was a stunning turnabout for Trump, who had long warned against US intervention in Syria's civil war, which has killed around a half-million people in six years.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Jordan's King Abdullah (not pictured) in the Rose Garden after their meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2017.
Despite widespread consensus that the chemical attack was carried out by the Syrian government, most likely using the banned nerve agent Sarin, Iran and Russian Federation have defended the record of their ally in Damascus.
Like Iran, Russia accused the United States of encouraging "terrorists" with its air strike. Iran is a big backer of the Assad government.
Russian Federation also said it would stop cooperating with the United States on "de-confliction" - a process that helps avoid airspace collisions, but analysts suspect that move will be short-term.
The Russian military was informed beforehand, a USA military spokesman said. That being said, the authority to declare war under the Constitution is given to Congress.
The Trump administration appeared to walk a similar line in its own tough talk. Tillerson will be able to enter into negotiations with Moscow with leverage. "Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on that commitment from 2013. The commander-in-chief acted last night, and I look forward to President Trump making the case to the American people and to Congress to see what further military action should be taken, if any".
A tough posture that keeps channels open to Moscow could create opportunities for cooperation on Syria, analysts said.
"It is not hard to imagine how much the spirits of these terrorists have been raised after this support from Washington", Russia's deputy U.N. Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said during Friday's Security Council session. If this is but one strike, it leaves a more defiant Assad empowered.
He also said the Syrian government did not engage in chemical warfare earlier this week, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry - despite what activists and the US government have said.
"Someone who uses barrel bombs and chemicals to kill his own people simply can not be the future leader of Syria", he stated.
"The world is waiting for the Russian government to act responsibly in Syria", Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, said during an emergency Security Council session.
"This can be, in a unusual way, an opportunity", said Graham, who said he supports continued engagement with Russian Federation. "The United States will not stand by when chemical weapons are used".
Russia's military said the strike had an "extremely low" military impact, with fewer than half the missiles reaching the base. "The U.S. administration should have taken stronger action against Assad a long time ago". "Why have rules against chemical weapons use if no one is going to pay a price for violating the rules?" Trump also called for Obama to get congressional approval prior to any attack against Syria.
Trump placed part of the blame for the recent chemical attack on the former Democratic president, saying it was a "consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution".