Syria’s intractable civil war – which has entered its sixth year – has helped create the largest displacement of people since WWII and has generated scores of human rights violations committed by the conflict’s many warring parties.
On Tuesday, a chemical attack that Western nations are blaming on the Assad government occurred in the Idlib Province, killing at least 60 people – including children – and sickening many others. Survivors recount that airplanes dropped bombs that released a noxious gas. The US government, along with those of Britain and the EU, contend that the Assad regime, as well as its Russian and Iranian patrons, are responsible.
This heinous attack on civilians occurred shortly after Trump Administration officials have started indicating that US policy is no longer concerned with toppling Assad’s vicious regime. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley remarked that “our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out” and, just days ago, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson stated that Assad’s future “will be decided by the Syrian people.”
Senator John McCain, who is among the Republicans most critical of Trump’s White House, explained his dismay regarding Trump officials’ stance on CNN:
Bashar Assad and his friends, the Russians, take note of what Americans say. I’m sure they took note of what our Secretary of State said just the other day that the Syrian people would be determining their own future themselves – one of the more incredible statements I’ve ever heard. I’m sure they are encouraged to know the United States is withdrawing and seeking a new arrangement with the Russians. It is another disgraceful chapter in American history and it was predictable.
— CNN (@CNN) April 4, 2017
The hospital treating the victims of the chemical attack was also struck by a bombing raid. The organization Save the Children has told reporters that at least 11 children are among those killed.