‘Big price to pay’: Trump warns countries backing ‘animal’ Assad


Donald Trump has warned Russia and Iran there will be a “big price to pay” for backing the Syrian regime after a suspected chemical attack.

The US President condemned as “mindless” and “SICK” reports of at least 70 people being killed, and a further 500 injured, in an alleged chlorine gas attack in the city of Douma in eastern Ghouta.

There has been no independent verification of the claims – made by the White Helmets rescue service and other opposition-linked medical relief groups – of a chemical attack.

The allegations have been denied by the Syrian government and Russia.

Syrian media accused anti-Assad fighters in Douma of making “chemical attack fabrications”, while Moscow rejected the claims as “fake news”.

Video: Babies caught up in ‘chemical attack’

Mr Trump tweeted: “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!”

He also pointed to former president Barack Obama’s handling of the Syrian civil conflict – and his failure to face down Mr Assad after setting a “red line” on the use of chemical weapons.

Mr Trump added: “If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described the allegations of a chlorine gas attack in the rebel holdout as “deeply disturbing” and called for an immediate investigation by inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

“It is truly horrific to think that many of the victims were reportedly families seeking refuge from airstrikes in underground shelters,” he said.

“Despite Russia’s promise in 2013 to ensure Syria would abandon all of its chemical weapons, international investigators mandated by the UN Security Council have found the Assad regime responsible for using poison gas in at least four separate attacks since 2014.”

Syria chemical attack
Image: People rush to help a distressed young child after the alleged chemical attack in Douma

He added: “Should it be confirmed that the regime has used chemical weapons again, it would be yet another appalling example of the Assad regime’s brutality and blatant disregard for both the Syrian people and its legal obligations not to use chemical weapons.

“We condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere. We are in close touch with our allies following these latest reports. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons have lost all moral integrity and must be held to account.”

A Syrian man walks down a street past destroyed buildings on March 25, 2018, in Douma
Image: Douma in eastern Ghouta has been dubbed ‘hell on earth’

Last year, the United Nations was among those blaming Syrian government forces for a deadly sarin gas attack on the opposition-held village of Khan Sheikhun in which at least 100 people died.

That attack prompted the US to launch several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, which President Trump said was meant to “prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly weapons”.

Syrian state TV has shown footage of what it claims are the US airstrikes
Video: April 2017: Syrian TV shows ‘missiles hitting airbase’

Responding to the latest allegations, the Russian foreign ministry warned: “The goal of these false speculations, which are not substantiated by any facts, is to cover up terrorists and irreconcilable radical opposition, which opposes political settlement, and to simultaneously try to justify potential external military strikes.

“It is necessary to once again caution that military intervention under false and fabricated pretexts in Syria, where the Russian servicemen stay at the request of the legitimate government, is absolutely unacceptable and may trigger the gravest consequences.”

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British MP Johnny Mercer, who has previously claimed it was “the biggest foreign policy mistake of the decade” not to take military action in Syria, tweeted: “Look a the consequences of inaction.”

In response, former Chancellor George Osborne replied: “Votes have consequences.”

From – SkyNews