Trump Ambiguous on Syria Military Strike

Trump Ambiguous on Syria Military Strike

Thursday, 12 April, 2018 - 11:45
US President Donald Trump during a news conference at the White House in Washington, US, February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Asharq Al-Awsat
Signs of a global effort to head off a dangerous conflict pitting Russia against the West seem to have paid off as US President Donald Trump cast doubt over the timing of his threatened strike on Syria.

"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!" said Trump in his latest early morning tweet.

Trump's new tweet seemed to backtrack from the bellicose one of Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" after the April 7 chemical weapons attack alleged to have killed dozens of people, and lambasted Moscow for standing by Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

French President Emmanuel Macron also said Thursday that he would respond to "proof" that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons, "at a time of our choosing."

"We have proof that chemical weapons were used last week, at least chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of Bashar al-Assad," Macron said during an interview on France's TF1 television.

Macron added that he was in daily contact with Trump and that they would decide on their response "at a time of our choosing, when we judge it to be the most useful and the most effective."

The French leader, who had made the use of chemical weapons in Syria a "red line", said one of his aims in Syria was to "remove the regime's chemical attack capabilities".

But he repeated that he wanted to also avoid "an escalation".

"France will in no way allow an escalation or anything that would harm regional stability, but we cannot allow regimes that believe they can act with impunity to violate international law in the worst possible way."

The tough talk between Trump and Russia has raised fears of the Syria conflict mushrooming into something even more serious involving America and its Western allies on one side and the Russians on the other.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned world powers Wednesday to keep the conflict from "spiraling out of control."

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