White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday that Washington has not yet laid out a timetable on possible strikes on Syria, however President Trump is leaving a number of options on Damascus besides a purported missile strike. Moreover, the US president holds Russia and Syria responsible for the suspected chemical attack in Douma and said all options were still on the table for a US response
"The president holds [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad and the Russians responsible for the attack," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters, adding that the intelligence reports provided to the United States do not support Russia's assertion that the attack was staged by the White Helmets.
However, Trump has not yet made a final decision on how the United States will respond the White House Press Secretary emphasized. Earlier on Wednesday, Trump tweeted that "missiles will be coming" in response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria and added that Russia should “get ready”. Sadners denied that his Twitter threats had created any problem.
Sanders then said Trump had a number of options, not just military, and that he was assessing how to respond.
"We have a number of options and all of those options are still on the table. Final decisions haven’t been made yet on that front," Sanders said when asked about a potential US response. Sanders said Vice President Mike Pence had chaired a meeting of Trump's national security team on Wednesday afternoon.
Sanders also said that Russia is partially responsible for Syria's alleged recent use of chemical weapons against civilians in Douma because Moscow failed the prevention from carrying out another chemical attack as it had earlier guaranteed. "They guaranteed that the use of chemical weapons by Syria would not happen again. They failed at that," Sanders told reporters on Wednesday.
Which, of course, is strange considering that on July 20, 2014, then Secretary of State John Kerry said that "we got 100 percent of the declared chemical weapons out [of Syria]."
Was Kerry lying, or is someone lying now that Assad has chemical weapons, so critical to stage one false flag attack after another?
Meanwhile, Syria's Foreign Ministry said Washington is using the alleged chemical attack as a pretext to target Syria. "We are not surprised by this reckless escalation from a regime like the one in the United States, which has and continues to sponsor terrorism in Syria," said the statement, carried by state media.
Russia has said claims of a chemical weapons attack were fabricated and threatened to retaliate if its allies in Damascus are threatened. "If there is a US strike ... the missiles will be downed as well as the sources they were fired from," Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin said.
Russia’s ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, told Euronews that the suspected chemical attack in Syria was a “staged event” by those working with the White Helmets, a volunteer humanitarian aid NGO. A spokesperson for the White Helmets, formally called Syria Civil Defence, told Newsweek that the group categorically rejects the claims.
The top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader also said that Tehran would support Damascus against any “foreign aggression”, in response to Trump’s comments about a possible military strike in Syria. “We will stand by Syria’s government against any foreign aggression ... Iran backs Syria in its fight against America and the Zionist Regime (Israel),” Ali Akbar Velayati told state TV during a visit to Syria's Eastern Ghouta.
Finally, Russia's Interfax reported that Moscow is in direct contact with the US Joint Chiefs of Staff about the situation in Syria, citing Vladimir Shamanov, head of the lower house of parliament's defence committee. Which is probably useful if the world hopes to avoid World War III.