The Latest: Trump says Syria attack ‘crossed a lot of lines’

The Latest: Trump says Syria attack 'crossed a lot of lines'

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the Trump administration and Syria (all times local):

1:31 p.m.

President Donald Trump says a suspected chemical attack by the Syrian government against civilians “crossed a lot of lines.”

At a joint press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II Wednesday, Trump said that his attitude about Syria’s President Bashar Assad and about Syria has “changed very much.”

He repeated his accusations that the Obama administration issued a “blank threat” to the Assad government that using chemical weapons would result in consequences.

Trump says it was “not one of our better days as a country” when the previous administration failed to act on those threats.

He acknowledged that now “I have that responsibility and I will carry it proudly.”

The attack Tuesday in rebel-held northern Idlib is responsible for the deaths of dozens of people, including women and children.

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1:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says that the goal of “any responsible refugee policy” is to pave the way for refugees to return home.

In a joint press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II Wednesday, Trump said he intends “finally to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East” and to the refugee crisis that has reached the worst since World War II.

Trump said he would partner with Jordan and other regional allies, including Egypt and Iraq, to address the problem.

The United Nations last week said that the number of Syrian refugees alone has exceeded 5 million.

Trump recently signed an executive order to temporarily ban Syrian refugees, as well as travellers from six Muslim-majority nations, from travelling to the U.S. That ban has been challenged by the courts.

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1:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says this week’s chemical attack on Syrian civilians “cannot be tolerated.”

Trump spoke at a White House news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II., saying innocent people, including women small children “and even beautiful little babies” were killed.

Trump is calling the attack “an affront to humanity” and says, “These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated.”

A suspected chemical attack in a town in Syria’s rebel-held northern Idlib province killed dozens of people on Tuesday in one of the worst attacks in the country’s six-year civil war.

The Trump administration has blamed the attack on the government of President Bashar Assad.

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12:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is denouncing the chemical attack on Syrian civilians, calling it an “affront to humanity.”

Trump said as he welcomed King Abdullah II of Jordan, “These are very troubled times in the Middle East.”

He calls the attack a “horrible thing, unspeakable” and says, “It’s a terrible affront to humanity.”

Trump also thanked the king and his wife for visiting the White House, saying the two leaders will engage in some “very interesting discussions.”

Asked how he plans to respond to the attack he blames on Syrian President Bashar Assad, Trump said, “You’ll see.”

A suspected chemical attack in a town in Syria’s rebel-held northern Idlib province killed dozens of people on Tuesday. It’s one of the worst attacks in the country’s six-year civil war.

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12:05 p.m.

Senate Democrats are criticizing President Donald Trump’s response to the chemical attack in Syria that killed 72 people.

Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania calls a White House statement on the attack weak because it omits any mention of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Casey says Trump should “finally tell it like it is — that these are war crimes” by Syrian President Bashar Assad against his own people.

The senator says the attack “was a moment the president could have spoken with moral authority and with the beginning of an outline of a strategy. And we don’t see it.”

Casey and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York say Trump is being undermined by the cloud of an ongoing investigation into possible Russian interference in the election.

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11:40 a.m.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis says a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria “was a heinous act and will be treated as such.”

He did not elaborate on what the U.S. may do in response.

Mattis was speaking at the start of a meeting in the Pentagon with Singapore’s minister of defence.

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10:42 a.m.

President Donald Trump will speak Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as concerns echo across Europe over the urgent need to respond to violence in Syria.

A suspected chemical attack in rebel-held northern Idlib killed dozens of civilians Tuesday in one of the worst attacks since the civil war began.

Trump will also speak with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hours, hours after North Korea fired a newly developed powerful ballistic missile into its eastern waters Wednesday.

Abe’s phone call also comes ahead of the president’s planned meeting Thursday with China’s president Xi Jinping during which various east Asian security issues may be addressed, including a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

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10:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka is tweeting about the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Ivanka Trump, a top adviser to the president, tweeted Wednesday that she is “Heartbroken and outraged by the images coming out of Syria following the atrocious chemical attack yesterday.”

The president released a statement Tuesday condemning the attack as “reprehensible.”

The White House has not said how the Trump administration intends to respond to the crisis in Syria.

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10:30 a.m.

The United States and Russia are trading conflicting assertions about who launched a chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed 72 people.

The White House says Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is responsible. But Russia says anti-Assad rebels are to blame. Russia’s military says the chemicals were dispersed when Syrian warplanes bombed a facility where rebels were building chemical weapons.

Officials say Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will discuss Syria with Russian leaders next week when he visits Moscow. It’s the first announced visit by a top U.S. official to Russia since President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The U.N. Security Council plans an emergency session midday Wednesday on the attack. And Trump is expected to face questions about it during an afternoon news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

The Associated Press

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