White House Considering Military Action Against Syria

A report says the chemical used in Tuesday's attack was sarin
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2017 6:28 PM CDT
Chemical Used in Syrian Attack Was Sarin: Report
This Tuesday April 4, 2017, photo, provided by the Syrian anti-government activist group Edlib Media Center, that is consistent with independent AP reporting, shows a man carrying a child following a suspected chemical attack in Syria.   (Edlib Media Center, via AP, File)

The chemical used in an attack this week that left at least 86 people—27 of them children—dead in Syria was sarin, a banned nerve agent, the New York Times report. The Turkish Health Ministry says it confirmed the chemical as sarin following an autopsy on three victims. Many of the victims of Tuesday's attack in Idlib Province were taken to Turkey afterward. President Bashar al-Assad, who is being blamed for the attack, signed a treaty banning the use of sarin less than four years ago following an earlier attack. The Syrian government promised to get rid of its chemical weapons after signing the treaty. The Syrian government is denying any responsibility for this week's assault.

Rex Tillerson says "steps are underway" to plan for Assad's removal from power in response to the chemical attack, USA Today reports. It's unclear what those steps are, but the secretary of state says Assad has no future leading Syria and that Russia, which is standing behind the Syrian government's claims of innocence in the attack, should rethink its support for the Syrian president. According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration is now considering potential military action against Syria, with the Pentagon presenting possible options to the White House. Those options could include strikes on Syrian military targets or keeping the Syrian air force from flying. However, there are concerns about how Russia could react to US military action. (More Syria stories.)

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