(Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

Trump Condemns 'Heinous' Poison Gas Attack In Syria, Says He'll Soon Make Decision On U.S Response

April 09, 2018 - 8:23 am

WASHINGTON (1010 WINS/AP) -- President Donald Trump has condemned the "heinous" suspected poison gas attack in Syria and said he'll make a decision on the U.S. response within 24 to 48 hours.

Speaking in the White House Cabinet Room Monday, Trump vowed to find out who is responsible for the attack that reportedly killed at least 40 people.

Trump said during a Cabinet meeting with reporters that, "If it's Russia, if it's Syria, if it's Iran, if it's all of them together, we'll figure it out."

Opposition activists said 40 people died in the chemical attack late Saturday in the suburbs of the Syrian capital and blamed it on the Syrian government, which is closely allied with Russia.

Syria has blamed Israel for a missile attack on a central air base early Monday that reportedly killed 14 people, including three Iranians.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. is not ruling out military airstrikes against Syria in response to the government's alleged use of toxic gas against civilians.

At a photo-taking session in the Pentagon before a meeting with the emir of Qatar on Monday, Mattis said the Trump administration is consulting with allies in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Asked by a reporter about a possible U.S. military response, Mattis said, "I don't rule out anything right now."

Mattis also said the "first thing" the administration is considering is why chemical weapons are being used at all in Syria. Russia was a guarantor of a deal the Obama administration struck in 2013 in which Syria was to have removed all of its chemical weapons. Mattis added that the administration will work with other countries to "address this issue."

The United States is urging the U.N. Security Council to adopt a new resolution that would condemn the continuing use of chemical weapons in Syria "in the strongest terms'' and establish a new body to determine responsibility for chemical attacks. 
The draft resolution, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, singles out Saturday's attack on Douma in the Damascus suburbs, and expresses "outrage that individuals continue to be killed and injured by chemical weapons'' in Syria and "determination that those responsible must be held accountable.'' 
It was circulated ahead of an emergency Security Council meeting Monday on the Douma attack. 

(Copyright 2018 1010 WINS. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)