Trump vowing to ‘forcefully’ respond to chemical attack in Syria: 5 things to know


Update Apr 9, 2018 7:30 PM EDT: President Donald Trump is vowing to “forcefully” respond to the chemical attack in Syria that left at least 40 people dead.

“It will be met and it will be met forcefully,” Trump said.

“We are getting clarity on that, on who was responsible, Trump said at a press availability at the White House late Monday afternoon ahead of a meeting with his military leaders.

“We have a lot of options militarily,” the president said.

(Previous story)

A missile strike on a Syrian air base left at least 14 dead Monday, just days after a suspected chemical attack on Douma, a rebel-held town, killed at least 40 people.

>> What is a Tomahawk cruise missile and what does it do?

Here's what we know so far:

1. President Donald Trump has not ruled out the possibility of U.S. military action in response to Saturday’s suspected chemical attack.

Trump said Monday that that he will decide how to respond within the next "24 to 48 hours.”

“Nothing is off the table,” he said. “We’re talking about humanity, and it can’t be allowed to happen.”

The president took to Twitter on Sunday to blame Syrian President Bashar Assad for the alleged chemical attack. Trump also pointed fingers at Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iran and former U.S. President Barack Obama. 

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria," Trump tweeted Sunday morning. "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. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"

Trump later added: "If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!"

>> What is sarin nerve gas?

2. The Syrian and Russian governments denied the claims. According to The New York Times, "state news media in Syria denied that government forces had used chemical weapons and accused the Islamist rebel group that controls Douma, the Army of Islam, of fabricating the videos to solicit international support as defeat loomed."

The Russian government shared that position.

"Information attacks about the use of chlorine or other poisonous substances by the Syrian government troops are continuing. Another such hoax about the chemical attack that supposedly took place in Douma emerged yesterday," the statement said, according to CNN.

"We have warned of such dangerous provocations many times before. The purpose of these false conjectures, which are without any basis, is to shield the terrorists and the irreconcilable radical opposition, which reject a political settlement while trying to justify possible military strikes from outside."

>> Read more trending news 

3. The U.S. said it was not behind the deadly missile strike on Syria's T4 air base. "At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria. However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable," the Pentagon said in a statement, according to CNN

The statement came as Syrian state media said the airstrike was probably "an American aggression," The Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry claimed that Israel had fired the missiles.

4. The United Nations Security Council is meeting Monday about the suspected chemical attack. “The Security Council has to come together and demand immediate access for first responders, support an independent investigation into what happened, and hold accountable those responsible for this atrocious act,” Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said in a statement.

>> ONE YEAR AGO: US fires more than 50 cruise missiles into Syria

5. The latest developments in Syria come about a year after a chemical attack there reportedly killed at least 80 people in Khan Sheikhun. According to CNN, the U.S. launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles at Syria's Shayrat air base in response to the April 4 attack.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Trump-Putin summit: What time do they meet, where, what will they be talking about?
Trump-Putin summit: What time do they meet, where, what will they be talking about?

President Donald Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday in Helsinki, Finland, days after 12 Russian military officers were indicted for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. It will be the first time the two men have met in a stand-alone meeting.According to Trump, he has “low expectations” for the meeting...
13-year-old girl beheaded after seeing grandmother killed in Alabama cemetery
13-year-old girl beheaded after seeing grandmother killed in Alabama cemetery

An Alabama 13-year-old found dead in a wooded area last month was beheaded after she saw two men stab her grandmother to death, an investigator testified Thursday.  The grisly details of Mariah Lopez’s slaying came out during the preliminary hearing of Yoni Martinez Aguilar, AL.com reported. Aguilar, 26, and Israel Gonzalez Palomino...
National Ice Cream Day 2018: Deals at Dairy Queen, Carvel, PetSmart and more
National Ice Cream Day 2018: Deals at Dairy Queen, Carvel, PetSmart and more

If you are in the mood to scream over ice cream today, you’re in luck. Today is National Ice Cream Day (finally), and ice cream joints across the country are offering sweet deals on your favorite flavor.  And there are plenty of people who will take them up on the offers. Ninety-six percent of Americans surveyed by YouGov said they...
Drive-thru marijuana dispensary opens in Washington state
Drive-thru marijuana dispensary opens in Washington state

Washington state's first drive-thru marijuana dispensary is now open for business. Joint Rivers, located at 2121 Auburn Way S. in Auburn, is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The store is planning its official grand opening in the coming months and will hold a Vendors' Day on July 30, where attendees can visit 30 vendors. “We are grateful...
Avozillas, giant 4-pound fruits, are an avocado toast lover's dream come true
Avozillas, giant 4-pound fruits, are an avocado toast lover's dream come true

Love avocado toast? You might want to head down under. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and 9News, a giant avocado variety dubbed "avozilla" has hit specialty stores in Australia after Queensland's Groves family started growing the fruit, which originally was discovered in South Africa. The massive, tasty treats can weigh...
More Stories