U.S. President Donald Trump is facing two new foreign policy tests in Syria and North Korea that will be watched closely around the world and reveal the degree to which the Trump administration is committed to defending freedom and confronting tyranny on the international stage.
During a joint press conference yesterday at the White House held with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, President Trump condemned the April 4th sarin nerve gas attack in rebel held Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib Province of Syria that killed at least 86 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, with about two third of them women and children.
Medical sources told the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that one of the neighborhoods of Khan Shaykhun city was bombed with material believed to be gasses which caused suffocation and other symptoms.
“Yesterday, a chemical attack… a chemical attack that was so horrific, in Syria, against innocent people, including women, small children, and even beautiful little babies. Their deaths was an affront to humanity. These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerate” President Trump said.
Jordanian King Abdullah II weighed in about the chemical weapons attack in Syria and said “this is another testament to the failure of the international diplomacy to find the solutions to this crisis.”
King Abdullah II said that he believes that President Trump’s leadership will be able to unravel “this very complicated situation.”
Although President Trump voiced some criticism over the way the U.S. handled Syria under the Obama administration, he acknowledged on Wednesday during the joint press conference that “I now have responsibility” which he said he will carry it very proudly.
On March 30th U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke before reporters in Ankara, Turkey with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and was questioned about Syrian President Assad and whether he should be forced out.
Secretary Tillerson responded by stating that he believes the Syrian people should determine President Assad’s future.
“I think the status and the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people” Secretary Tillerson said.
Speaking on CNN on April 4th, Arizona Senator John McCain called Tillerson’ remark about the Syrian people determining the future of Assad, “one of the more incredible statements I have ever heard given the involvement of Hezbollah, of the Iranians, of the Russians, and of course the barrel bombing and precision airstrikes by Russian aircraft into hospitals in Aleppo.”
Senator McCain called for the Trump administration to fight against ISIS and help groups such as the Free Syrian Army that are waged against Syrian President Assad.
In a more recent statement on April 4th following the chemical attack incident at Khan Shaykhun, U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson gave a more hawkish message that blamed Syrian President Assad for the chemical weapons attack and said he needs to be held accountable.
“While we continue to monitor the terrible situation, it is clear that this is how Bashar al-Assad operates: with brutal, unabashed barbarism. Those who defend and support him, including Russia and Iran, should have no illusions about Assad or his intentions. Anyone who uses chemical weapons to attack his own people shows a fundamental disregard for human decency and must be held accountable” Secretary Tillerson said.
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