A Sunday warning from Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that if Western countries carry out further attacks against Syria, the result will be nothing short of international “chaos.”
The warning came as the United States appeared to be prepared to implement stricter economic sanctions on Russia for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has allegedly used chemical weapons against his own people.
On Monday, though, The Washington Post reported that Trump had “put the brakes on a preliminary plan” to impose these sanctions.
Putin made the threat during a phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, where the two agreed that “Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict,” according to Reuters.
“Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the U.N. Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” read a statement from the Kremlin released following the meeting.
The White House, meanwhile, has indicated that despite teaming up with France and United Kingdom to carry out airstrikes against Syrian targets on Friday, the U.S. wants to take American forces out of the country “as quickly as possible.”
“The U.S. mission has not changed — the president has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return.” she added. “In addition we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region.”
At the same time, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told “Fox News Sunday” that American troops will stay in Syria until three goals are accomplished: the total defeat of the Islamic State group, ensuring chemical weapons can’t be used in any way that harms U.S. interests and establishing “good grounds” to watch what Iran is doing in the region.
The Trump administration would like to see U.S. troops come home but “we’re not going to leave until we know we have accomplished those things,” Haley said.
Haley herself has been one of the strongest voices accusing Russia of enabling the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.
Last week, Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution condemning a recent chemical weapons attack in Syria.
“Haley said the United States ‘went the extra mile’ to get Russian support for the resolution to ensure that a new investigative body would be impartial, independent and professional — things she said would not be guaranteed by a rival Russian resolution,” according to The Associated Press.
As reported by The Western Journal, declassified documents from France claim that the government of Syria has carried out a number of chemical attacks on its own people dating back to April 4, 2017, when an attack in the Idlib province in northern Syria left 80 dead.
The attack on April 7 of this year was just the latest in this series of chemical strikes.
On Friday night, U.S. officials issued their own assessment, suggesting Syria’s government played a major role in the chemical attack in Douma.
The U.S. report cited “multiple media sources, the reported symptoms experienced by victims, videos and images showing two assessed barrel bombs from the attack, and reliable information indicating coordination between Syrian military officials before the attack.”
The report also claims that the Syrian government didn’t just use chlorine in its attack, but that the victims’ symptoms indicate they were exposed to a deadly nerve agent called sarin.
However, in response to Haley’s comments about the new sanctions, Evgeny Serebrennikov, deputy head of the defense committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, claimed that Moscow is ready for any penalty thrown its way.
“They are hard for us, but will do more damage to the U.S.A. and Europe,” he said of the sanctions.
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