In the wake of the Syrian chemical attack, President Trump took decisive action in response. The message was clear; the use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians will not be tolerated. It was a move that put not only Syria, but Iran and North Korea on notice.
Although the response was well received around the world, many wondered where things would go from here. President Trump is hesitant to thrust the U.S. into another long and costly ground war, leaving fewer options on the table if Syria doesn’t comply with international law.
Complicating matters is the Russians, one of the few allies the Syrian government has left. Any action taken against Syria will have to be weighed against the potential to deeper divide relations with Putin, who shows no signs of backing down from his support of the Syrian government.
Clearly, Trump faces a complex international crisis just months into his first term. But that situation could turn out to be even more complicated after one U.S. official made a shocking claim.
From Fox News:
A senior U.S. official says the United States has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria’s chemical weapons attack last week.
The official says a Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital in Syria as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment.
Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.
The news comes as the Russia continues to deny that the Syrian government was involved in the attack. However, at least one U.S. official is now claiming that Russia knew of the attack ahead of time, and may have even been involved. On today’s episode of The Five, co-host Dana Perino reported Fox has not yet confirmed the senior official’s claim.
If true, the news complicates the situation in Syria even further. Despite this, Russia’s potential involvement in the attack is sure to draw widespread condemnation from the international community, putting Russia in a tricky position. Any sympathy Moscow had from foreign leaders would quickly evaporate if they were found complicit in breaking international law.
There is no word yet on how the Trump administration plans to respond to the news. However, the allegations of Russian involvement in the attack are sure to further strain relations between the two countries. The tense relationship will continue to cast doubt over their ability to work together to resolve the conflict.
[Note: This post was written by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]