Washington: US President Donald Trump is weighing all options on the table with regard to Syria as he holds the Syrian regime and Russia responsible for the latest chemical weapons attack, the White House said on Thursday, adding that no final decision has been taken yet on the military response.
“It sounds like all options are on the table, and a final decision hasn't been made, but we'll keep you posted once it is,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
Referring to the allegation of a Russian military official that there was an attack, but it was staged by the White Helmets brigade component of the rebels in Syria, she said the intelligence provided “certainly paints” a different picture, and the President holds Syria and Russia responsible for the chemical weapons attack.
“We’re maintaining that we have a number of options, and all of those options are still on the table. Final decisions haven’t been made yet on that front,” Sarah Sanders said, adding that the President has not laid out a timetable.
“In a public sense, certainly the President has made some decisions. He made a decision not to travel to Latin America so that we could focus on this. That was the first step in this process, but we’re continuing to look at a number of options,” she said. Russia, she alle-ged, holds some responsibility in the fact that they had guaranteed that Syria wouldn’t use chemical weapons again, which they did.
They also hold some responsibility in the fact that they have the six UN resolutions that they vetoed to help protect Assad. Both of those things lie at Russia’s feet in terms of responsibility in this process, Sarah Sanders said.
In a statement, Senator Bernie Sanders said Trump has no legal authority for broadening the war in Syria.
“It is Congress, not the President, who determines whether our country goes to war and Congress must not abdicate that responsibility. We have been in Afghanistan for 17 years and Iraq for 15 years. The result has been massive regional instability, terrible loss of life and a cost of trillions of dollars,” he said. “If President Trump believes that expanding the war in Syria will bring stability and protect American interests, he should come to Congress with his ideas,” Bernie Sanders.
Senator Edward Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticised Trump’s warnings that he intends to conduct military strikes in retaliation against Assad’s use of chemical weapons....