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Trump and Macron vow 'strong, joint response' to Syrian chemical attack

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By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
4/9/2018 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Strike on Syria appears forthcoming, decision by Tuesday.

The United States and France have vowed a joint response against Bashir al Assad's regime in Syria following a chemical weapons attack on civilians in a rebel enclave near Damascus. 

The U.S. is preparing for a military response to Syria's chemical weapons attack.

The U.S. is preparing for a military response to Syria's chemical weapons attack.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
4/9/2018 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: President Trump, Emmanuel Macron, Assad, Syria, chemical weapons, attack, strike, response, Russia, Putin


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Syrian forces under the responsibility of Bashir al Assad are widely suspected of using chlorine gas against rebel civilians in the city of Douma, near the capital of Damascus. The city is the last major rebel enclave near the capitol and is under assault by regime forces. 

The attack appears to have little tactical value, as it killed 40 civilians and injured dozens more. Experts believe the attack is an attempt by Assad to brutalize the rebels and discourage further attempts at rebellion. 

Reports suggest the gas used in the attack was chlorine. Chlorine gas itself isn't banned, but it is banned as a weapon of war. As a weapon, chlorine gas works on the respiratory system, and in high concentrations, death can follow within minutes. Otherwise, the gas causes severe irritation and difficulty breathing. Most people require several days to recover and some survivors may suffer lifelong complications. 

Both President Trump and Emmanuel Macron of France have discussed the possibility of a military response to the attack, which both leaders agree is a 'red line' that would provoke an armed response. 

Both leaders are expected to reach a decision by Tuesday. Both are awaiting reports from humanitarian officials and investigators int he region, as well as conferring with their respective military and key political officials. 

President Trump announced on Twitter, "Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"

While the U.S. and France discuss what response to make against Syria, Israel has already taken action, firing 8 missiles from a pair of F-15 fighter jets over Lebanon. Six of those missiles were allegedly shot down, and two hit targets at the T4 Military Air Base in Homs. That strike killed 14 personnel including some Iranians fighting on behalf of Assad. 

There is little question the U.S. is capable of exacting a terrible toll on Syria in retaliation for their use of chemical weapons. President Trump has the world's most powerful and best equipped, well-trained, professional military in the world. The U.S. military is capable of fighting on multiple fronts at once and can strike with precision. The French military is also capable and well equipped. 

The question is how great does the conflict become should the U.S. and France strike. With Russia and Iran involved in Syria, the possibility of escalation is also significant. 

The most likely response will be a blend of diplomatic and economic sanctions, along with limited military action. It is possible but unlikely that the U.S. could strike at regime targets, meaning Assad himself and his command and control facilities. 

A decision is expected by Tuesday, after which the world can expect to hear from the U.S. and French allied forces in the skies above Syria.

 

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