U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States is not going to get further involved in Syria despite ordering last week’s missile attack on the Syrian air base believed to be the source of the chemical weapons that killed scores of civilians, including children.
“We’re not going into Syria,” Trump told Fox Business News reporter Maria Bartiromo in an interview that aired Wednesday.
After seeing images of dying children in the chemical attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, Trump said he decided a military response was necessary. “When I saw that, I said we have to do something.”
Trump warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been accused of launching the chemical weapons attack with Russia’s help, is “very bad for Russia” and “very bad for mankind.”
White House spokesman Sean Spicer, however, said the president would not rule out another strike if Assad attacked civilians with chemical weapons again.
“Should they continue to use gas, especially against children and babies … all options remain on the table,” Spicer told reporters Wednesday in Washington. “I think the president showed last Thursday night that he will use a decisive, justified and proportionate action to right wrongs.”
The United States, meanwhile, has sharply rejected Russian claims that the nerve gas sarin, the agent believed responsible for scores of deaths in Syria last week, was the inadvertent result of an airstrike on a rebel-held munitions depot. A U.S. report says it is clear the chemical-weapons assault was a deliberate attack on civilians.
The National Security Council released a report at the White House Tuesday declaring that Syria’s “unacceptable” use of outlawed chemical weapons is a clear threat to the world. It accused both Syria and Russia of attempting to “confuse the world community about who is responsible for using chemical weapons against the Syrian people,” both on this occasion and previously.
The NSC called on the international community to speak out and make clear that “this behavior will not be tolerated,” although it did not specify possible consequences.