Some of America’s top enemies have sided with Russia in pledging to defend Syria following the U.S. missile attack on that country.
The U.S., for its part, isn’t backing down.
“We’re calling [Russia and Iran] out,” Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told CNN. “But I don’t think anything is off the table at this point. I think what you’re going to see is strong leadership. You’re going to continue to see the United States act when we need to act.”
Haley’s words were prompted by statements of support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad from Russia and Iran. The two governments were joined in their support for Assad by the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, the Associated Press reported.
“Both sides [Russia and Iran] noted the inadmissibility of aggressive U.S. actions against a sovereign state in violation of international law,” a Kremlin press release stated. “[Russia’s] Vladimir Putin and [Iran’s] Hasan Rouhani spoke in favor of an objective, unbiased investigation of all the circumstances of the chemical weapons incident on April 4 in the Syrian province of Idlib.”
Russia has implied that the chemical attack – which prompted the missile strike – never happened. On Tuesday, the White House alleged that Russia had helped Syria cover up the chemical attack.
Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister, earlier said the U.S. was “one step away from military clashes with Russia”
Rouhani, Iran’s president, even called Assad to voice his support for Syria. Iran has troops from its Revolutionary Guard fighting for Assad in Syria’s civil war. The Russians have been supplying Assad with air support, artillery and technical advice.
Trump ordered the strike in retaliation for a nerve gas attack on the city of Khan Sheikhoun that killed around 70 people.
War Talk Escalates
This prompted calls from U.S. allies for Assad’s removal.
“I am very clear that there can be no future for Assad in a stable Syria, which is representative of all the Syrian people,” UK Prime Minister Theresa May said.
But some in the U.S. say the White House should think twice about more military action.
“When the Trump administration uses the words ‘regime change,’ they are talking about a military effort to remove Assad,” U.S. Sen. Ed Markey told CNN. “And that would mean putting American young men and women on the ground in battlefield conditions in order to accomplish that goal. I don’t think there’s any appetite in the United States for a massive additional military presence.”
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