Syrian crisis worsens
The situation in Syria has, indeed, turned grave with allegations of a full-scale chemical attack on Douma and its devastating aftermath. Helmets, a voluntary relief organisation that looks into serving those affected and in evacuation efforts, has confirmed the attack. The gory details of the victims turned ashen blue and foaming in the mouths do point to anything but conventional warfare. In the early hours of Tuesday, the head of the UN mission to Syria spoke in great detail of the horrific situation and kept reiterating and appealing that the situation could not afford any escalation. True, everyone seemed to listen very attentively but it remained doubtful if they were actually moved. The Russian Ambassador was aggressive in his approach even as he dismissed any allegations of a chemical attack. Being the closest ally of Iran and Syria that has been bombing its own people for years, he informed the West that this was not Cold War but far worse. Both the American and British Ambassadors were sharp in nailing the Russians for their inhuman designs and strategy. What is of greater concern is the statement of President Donald Trump that the US response to the "atrocious" chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria would be imminent and would come very soon. "We cannot allow atrocities like that," he said warning that "nothing's off the table". On Russia's role in the suspected chemical weapons attack, Trump said that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who backs the Syrian regime, "may" bear responsibility. "Everybody's going to pay a price. He will and everybody will." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that his country had sent experts to Douma and that there was "no trace" of the use of chemical weapons there. What is of particular concern is his threat that any retaliatory attack, of the sort that Trump had indicated, would result in the interception of missiles and an attack on the aircraft carriers that launch them.
All this points to the beginning of a full-scale war—something that must be avoided at all costs. "We are very concerned when a thing like that can happen, this is about humanity. We're talking about humanity. And it can't be allowed to happen," Trump said. The attack comes a week after he told military leaders to draw up plans to prepare a withdrawal of the remaining US troops from Syria. Pressed on whether those plans still stood, he answered: "We're going to make a decision on all of that, in particular, Syria, we'll be making that decision very quickly. No matter what the decision, de-escalation can only, only be hoped for when peace is at a premium."