Will US use force against Syria over suspected chemical weapons attack?


China Military Online
Li Jiayao

Dozens killed in a suspected chemical attack in the Douma district in Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus, Syria on April 7. US President Trump said on social media that the Syrian government would have a "big price to pay".


On April 4, 2017, a chemical attack took place at the town of Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib Governorate of Syria. Two days later, a total of 59 Tomahawk missiles were launched by American forces targeting an air base in Syria. Trump said that the assault was retaliation for the chemical attack by the Syrian government troops.


Will the US attack Syria again this time?


The US reacted strongly to the chemical attack in Syria. Although the authenticity of the incident has not yet been confirmed by the authorities, the US has taken the lead in targeting the Syrian government.


Trump not only condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but also claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran must assume responsibility as they support the Assad regime.


White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said on Sunday that nothing should be taken off the table after reports of the chemical attack in Syria. Sen. Lindsey Graham warned that the international image of the US will be undermined if Trump takes no actions against Syria.


The EU also issued a statement on the same day saying that there was evidence that this chemical attack was conducted by the Syrian government, but the EU did not disclose any details of the so-called evidence.


According to reports, the UN Security Council held a meeting at the request of the US, UK, France and other countries on Apr. 9 to discuss the Syrian chemical attack. The UN Security Council voted on Apr. 10 on a draft resolution requesting authorization to investigate the party responsible. Russia voted against the draft resolution. Finally, the draft proposed by the US did not pass the UN Security Council.


Will the US eventually use this chemical attack as an excuse to take military actions against Syria?


Analysts believe that if the attack were an incident the Syrian anti-government forces scripted and directed to dispose of their own chemical weapons, their purpose has already been fulfilled. The US and other Western countries have used this incident to launch a public opinion war against Syria, Russia and Iran, and they may not be able to do anything beyond that.


On the other hand, Trump has once again demonstrated his "tough" image and may once again order a limited-scale attack against Syria. However, given that it is very difficult to find the responsible party, it is unlikely that the US will resort to large-scale military operations to try to destroy the Assad regime once and for all.


Disclaimer: The author is Shao Jie, reporter with the Xinhua News Agency. The article is translated from Chinese into English by the China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author from the Xinhua News Agency and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.



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