The Trump administration joined governments around the world in condemning the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad for a horrific chemical weapons attack Tuesday that killed at least 58 people, including 11 children.
Saying the Obama administration shared some of the blame for refusing to enforce its “red line” against chemical weapons attacks by Mr. Assad’s forces.
The White House and State Department issued strong condemnations. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said in a statement that the strike on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria was emblematic of Mr. Assad’s “brutal, unabashed barbarism.”
One State Department official characterized the attack as a blatant war crime, but neither President Trump nor Mr. Tillerson delivered his statement in person.
The attack comes just days after the Trump administration signaled that it was no longer demanding the ouster of Mr. Assad, who is backed by Russia and Iran, as a precondition for any deal to end the country’s brutal 6-year-old civil war.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry, which claims Damascus surrendered its entire chemical arsenal as part of a Russia-brokered deal in 2014, denied that the government was behind the aerial strike.
The U.N. Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the attack Wednesday morning.