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Trump Says Assad Should Leave Office After Chemical Attack

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US President Donald Trump issued his strongest words yet against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after Tuesday’s sarin attack on civilian populace in Idlib, north of Syria, which killed 27 children. At least 540 people have also been sent to the hospitals.

The former real estate mogul has been criticizing the Obama administration for dipping its hands on the Syrian war. But the chemical attack, blamed on the Syrian government despite the lack of direct proof, changed Trump’s mind on whether or not the US should continue backing the rebels trying to overthrow Assad.

“I think what Assad did is terrible,” he said. “I think what happened in Syria is one of the truly egregious crimes. It shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen. He’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so something should happen,” the US President said.

This is a complete turnaround from his views during the campaign period when he was espousing for “America First,” which means the US deescalating its presence in world’s conflicts. He’s also trying to build good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has been supporting Assad.

Speaking of Putin, he reiterated his support for Assad as he called on the world’s governments to refrain from making judgments on the culpability of the Syrian government for the chemical attack without any evidence.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman at Kremlin, said the chemical attack was “a very menacing course of events, dangerous and horrible crime.” But he quickly added that “sticking labels on everyone, prematurely, is not a correct thing to do.”

The US, with Trump’s imprimatur, hammered a Syrian military airfield with 59 cruise missiles on Thursday in response to the chemical attack. The former reality TV show host then asked for the support of “all civilized nations” to put an end to the “slaughter and bloodshed” in Syria.

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