The Daily Beast reports: The Trump administration knew that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was repeatedly attacking his own citizens with toxic chemicals. But the White House tacitly endorsed his continuing rule anyway.
That was the subtext to President Donald Trump’s message Wednesday, when he revealed that the U.S. was aware of a series of chlorine gas attacks leading up to this week’s deadly suspected sarin strike that killed dozens of civilians in an opposition-held town.
And yet, while the toxic bombs were falling, Trump’s administration repeatedly signaled that it would do nothing to remove Assad—a policy shift the Syrian dictator may have taken as a green light that led to Tuesday’s chemical massacre.
“If you look back over the last few weeks, there have been other attacks using gas,” Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference. “You’re now talking about a whole different level,” he said, condemning Tuesday’s attack together with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, but revealing he’d just possibly been willing to let the others slide.
The White House, U.S. intelligence agencies, and the military’s Central Command all declined to elaborate on Trump’s comments, but he seemed to confirm reports from rebel groups and aid organizations of multiple suspected gas attacks in the past two weeks. [Continue reading…]
The Washington Post reports: Autopsies conducted by Turkish doctors on Thursday have confirmed that chemical weapons were used in an attack which killed scores of people in Syria two days earlier, providing the most concrete evidence to date of why so many people were killed.
Dozens of victims from Tuesday’s daybreak assault on the northwestern town of Khan Sheikhoun have been evacuated to Turkey for medical treatment. Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the World Health Organisation had supervised autopsies for three people, and that chemical agents had been detected.
His comments came after Doctors Without Borders said that patients had shown symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent, the use of which has previously caused the United States to threaten military intervention. [Continue reading…]