Syria chemical attack has changed my view of Assad, says Trump | US news


Donald Trump has described the chemical attack in Idlib province which killed more than 70 people as an “affront to humanity”, but offered little clue to any new strategy to end the violence in Syria.

The US president said that Tuesday’s attack – whose victims included women, children and babies – had affected him profoundly and transformed his thinking about the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

“I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me – big impact,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. “My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much … You’re now talking about a whole different level.”

But during a joint press conference with King Abdullah of Jordan on Wednesday, Trump also repeated his criticism of Barack Obama’s administration for drawing and then failing to enforce a “red line” over Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

“I think that set us back a long ways, not only in Syria but in many other parts of the world because it was a blank threat,” Trump said, acknowledging that he now carried responsibility for the crisis.

Obama and his officials have disputed this criticism, insisting that they struck a deal with Russia to remove Syria’s weapons of mass destruction without a need for military intervention.

Syrian children receive treatment at a hospital following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun. Photograph: Mohamed Al-Bakour/AFP/Getty Images

When asked if the chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhun had crossed a red line, Trump said: “It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal – people were shocked to…

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