President Donald Trump issued a vague threat on Twitter on Sunday, after reports of a chemical attack in Syria.

“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” Trump wrote. “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…”

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…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018

….to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018

The tweet uncharacteristically named Putin by name, but it’s still unclear whether the “big price to pay” was directed at Russia, Iran, or Syria.

Trump then went on to blame Obama for not crossing “his stated Red Line In The Sand,” referring to Obama’s position that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons would lead to U.S. military action.

At least 70 Syrians died after a reported chemical attack on Saturday in Douma, a rebel-held area near the capital of Damascus.

“Seventy people suffocated to death and hundreds are still suffocating,” Raed al-Saleh, head of the volunteer-run rescue group White Helmets, told Al Jazeera, adding that the death toll was expected to increase.

The White Helmets, Douma Coordination Committee, and Ghouta Media Center said that barrel bombs with toxic gas were released on Douma by helicopters.

A Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) told CNN that doctors in eastern Ghouta were reporting seeing “patients who were convulsing from side to side and some appeared to be paralyzed and unresponsive.”

President Donald Trump holds a joint press conference with Baltic Heads of State in the East Room of the White House. CREDIT: Cheriss May/NurPhoto/Getty Images. How to make sense of all of Trump’s statements on Syria this week

Trump’s Twitter diplomacy seemed to contravene the president’s recent statements on Syria.

Over the last week, Trump has repeatedly said that he will withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. He initially gave no timeline for this withdrawal, simply saying that troops would leave “very soon.”

According to CNN, he later reportedly told his national security team that he wanted a withdrawal of troops within six months, but received pushback. Trump agreed to wait, and a White House statement on Syria on Wednesday gave no timetable for when the withdrawal would actually happen.

On Sunday, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert defended the withdrawal of troops from Syria, and maintained that there needs to be greater “regional partnerships” to fix the conflict there.

“American troops aren’t going to fix the six or seven different ongoing conflicts and wars going on in the Middle East at this stage, or in Syria at this stage,” Bossert said on ABC’s This Week. “We need regional partnerships increased and we need U.S. presence decreased.”

Still, Bossert said that Trump’s security team was viewing images of the attack all night and that nothing would be taken “off the table” when it comes to Syria.

 

Source Link:
https://thinkprogress.org/trump-twitter-vague-threat-chemical-attack-syria-80863bb5f477/

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