Trump says 'big price to pay' for Syria chemical attack
US President Donald Trump said on Sunday there would be a “big price to pay” after medical aid groups reported dozens of people were killed by poison gas in a besieged rebel-held town in Syria, according Reuters
As international officials worked to try to confirm the chemical attack which happened late on Saturday in the town of Douma, Trump took the rare step of directly criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin in connection with the incident.
The Syrian state denied government forces had launched any chemical attack and Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally, called the reports bogus.
“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The White House declined to clarify what consequences Trump had in mind. Last year, the United States launched a cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base days after a sarin gas attack in northwestern Syria blamed on Assad.
The Russian Foreign Ministry warned against any military action on the basis of “invented and fabricated excuses”, saying this could lead to severe consequences.
A joint statement by the medical relief organization Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the civil defense service, which operates in rebel-held areas, said 49 people had died in the attack. Others put the toll even higher.