In a series of tweets on the morning of April 8, President Trump condemned an apparent chemical attack near Damascus on April 7. (19659002) President Trump on Sunday promised in a tweet that there would be a "great price to pay" for the reported chemical attack that killed dozens of people in an enclave held by the rebels in Syria, internationally condemning the incident of the democracies and authoritarian regimes.
As horrifying images of the bodies of children in basements and blood-soaked survivors emerged in hospitals in eastern Ghouta, Trump made a rare direct criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a series of tweets, Trump said Putin shared the guilt of a "meaningless CHEMICAL attack" through Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad, great price to pay," Trump tweeted. "Open the area immediately for medical help and verification, another humanitarian disaster for no reason at all SICK!"
Your feelings were shared around the world. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the attack an example of the brutality of the Assad government. The European Union issued a statement appealing to the allies of Assad, Russia and Iran, to "use their influence to prevent further attacks and ensure a cessation of hostilities and a decrease in violence." Turkey, which has been cooperating with Assad's allies in talks for a political solution, called for international action to prevent what it called war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Calls to the White House to take action in response, possibly military, occurred when the national security team of the administration is at a crucial moment. John Bolton, a notable hawk on Russia and Iran, starts working as Trump's national security adviser on Monday. On Thursday, Mike Pompeo has a confirmation hearing scheduled for Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about his nomination to head the CIA.
President Trump has said he wants to get all US troops out of Syria where they are supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against the Islamic State. (Jason Aldag / The Washington Post)
And the administration's position in Syria is evolving. On Wednesday, the White House announced that the US military presence in Syria, where 2,000 soldiers are stationed to prevent the return of Islamic State militants, "is coming to an end."
Last week, officials commemorated the first anniversary of a sarin attack that killed more than 80 Syrians in the city of Khan Sheikhoun. That happened shortly after the government said it did not believe that removing Assad from power was as important a priority as fighting the Islamic State. The Syrian government was held responsible in a joint investigation of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The use of sarin in Khan Sheikhoun angered Trump and led him to reconsider his attitude toward Syria and Assad.  "He crossed many lines for me," he said. "When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, small babies, with a chemical gas that was so lethal," then "it crosses many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines."
Three days after the attack, Trump ordered a missile attack on the Syrian airfield that had been used by the planes that dropped the sarin.
Possible military action seemed like another option after the attack in Douma, amid calls to the international community to do something to punish the Syrian government.
Vice President Pence tweeted that US officials were overseeing the events and condemned the badault. "The Assad regime and its sponsors MUST end their barbaric behavior," he added. "As POTUS said, a great price to pay for those responsible!"
White House internal security adviser Thomas Bossert said nothing should be taken "off the table".
"It's a pretty serious problem," he said in an appearance on ABC News "This week."
"We have seen the photos of that attack, this is one of those issues on which all nations, all peoples, have agreed and agreed since the Second World War that this is an unacceptable practice."
] Syria and its main sponsor, Russia, denied that chemical weapons had been used, calling such reports inventions, while Iran considered the alleged attack a "conspiracy".
"Such accusations and accusations by Americans and certain Western countries point to a new conspiracy against the Syrian government and people, and a pretext for military action." The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran said in a statement.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement claiming that the information about the reported attack is a tactic used to cover up terrorists.
"The objective of these false conjectures, which have no basis, are designed to protect terrorists and implacable radical opposition, who reject a political agreement," the statement said. "It is necessary to warn, once again, that military intervention under such pretexts invented and manufactured in Syria, where the Russian military is based at the request of the legitimate government, is absolutely unacceptable and can have very serious consequences."
Syria also denounced chemical weapons reports as a lie.
"The terrorists of Jaish al-Islam are in a collapse and their means of communication are [making] fabrications of chemical attacks in an exposed and failed attempt to obstruct the progress of the Syrian Arab Army," the news agency said. by the government about a rebel group that the government tried to expel from Douma.
Several prominent Republicans urged the president to act, and reconsider his plan to withdraw US troops from Syria as quickly as possible.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) Tweeted that responsible nations can not tolerate chemical attacks. "The United States must continue to lead an international effort to hold the Assad regime and Russia accountable for their actions."
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the alleged attack "absolutely horrible" and said on Sunday that US authorities should consider taking military action in response.
"The last time this happened, the president made a targeted attack to remove some of the facilities, which may be an option we should consider now," Collins said in CNN's "State of the Union."
Senator. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said that "it is not accidental" that the Syrian regime appears to be using chemical weapons again.
"They see us and our resolution is broken, they see that our determination to remain in Syria is decreasing … but President Trump can restart the table here," Graham said Sunday morning in "This week." If you do not comply and comply with that tweet, it will seem weak in the eyes of Russia and Iran, so this is the decisive moment, Mr. President, you must continue with that tweet, demonstrate the determination that Obama never did this. "
Trump also blamed the Obama administration for not overthrowing the Assad government.
"If President Obama had crossed his red line in the sand, the Syrian disaster has ended a long time ago! Animal Assad would have been history!" He tweeted.
Amie Ferris-Rotman, Louisa Loveluck and Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.