US President Donald Trump has promised a “forceful” response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria, as Western leaders consider what action to take.
“We have a lot of options militarily,” he told reporters. He added that a response would be decided “shortly”.
Mr Trump said the US was getting some “good clarity” on who was responsible for the incident in Douma on Saturday.
Medical sources say dozens were killed in the alleged attack but exact numbers are impossible to verify.
Even Fox News host Tucker Carlson has suggested that the recent suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria was a false flag operation and that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not responsible for it.
In his current affairs program broadcast on Monday night, Carlson slammed the American media pundits and politicians who are calling for a war against Syria over the alleged attack near the capital Damascus on Saturday.
The attack in the militant-held town of Douma in the Eastern Ghouta region left dozens dead and drew international condemnation from various countries and international bodies. The Assad government strongly rejected the allegation of using chemical munitions.
“The push to war in Syria by the way has united politicians from both sides,” Carlson said in his introductory remarks.
“Lindsey Graham and Howard Dean typically agree on very little, not much at all. But today both are calling for in Syria,” he added.
“Graham is demanding massive attacks on the Syrian military. Dean is even going further than that. On Twitter, he called the president ‘a wimp’ for merely sending thousands of troops and launching tens of thousands of bombs at Syria,” he said.
“That’s not enough for Howard Dean, who, if you may remember, once ran for the president as a peace candidate. Tonight he wants total war in Syria,” the commentator stated.
Carlson said that Americans “should be skeptical to this, starting with the poison gas itself.”
“All the geniuses tell us Assad killed those children. But do they really know that?” he asked. “Of course, they don’t really know that. They are making it up. They have no real idea what happened.”
“How it would benefit Assad using chlorine gas last weekend? Well, it wouldn’t. Assad’s forces have been winning the war in Syria. The [Trump] administration has just announced to pull American troops out of Syria, having vanquished ISIL. That’s good news for Assad. And the only thing he could do to reverse it and hurt himself would be to use the poison gas against children,” he added.
“Well, he did it anyway, they tell us. He’s that evil. Please keep in mind, this is the same story they told us last April. Remember that? It was almost exactly a year ago,” the analyst noted.
“The new administration announced it is no longer seeking to depose Assad from power, the regime change is no longer a policy. So the usual war hawks in Washington started yelping and went berserk. And days later Assad supposedly used sarin gas against civilians. There was a video. We bombed the Syrian airbase in response to that,” he continued.
Carlson makes Senator Wicker look foolish
And, then Carlson brought on a hawkish Republican senator to ask about possible US military action against Assad, and things got very tense.
“What’s the American national security interest that would be served by the regime change in Syria?” he asked his guest, Senator Roger Wicker.
“Well, if you care about Israel you have to be interested at least in what’s going in Syria. We’re fighting ISIS there. Iran is seeking to dominate the whole region. I think, we have national interests in Syria,” replied the senator.
The answer left the host with his eyes wide opened. He repeated the question. “What’s the American national security interest that is served?” And then he added another question, “How this country [America] would become safer by overthrowing Assad?”
Wicker changed his tone, saying, “I’m not sure the regime change is our goal there. It was the goal of Barack Obama. It hasn’t really been our stated goal during the Trump administration. But defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria is still our goal. And I think that is in the national interest.”
“But wasn’t defeating ISIS [Daesh] one of the goal of the Assad government” the Fox News host asked.
“Well, you are correct in this sense. You’re correct in many ways. It’s complicated in Syria. There’s no question about it. I’m very interested in the question that you are asking that whether this is some sort of hoax, or whether this poison gas attack really did not happen. It was done by someone else,” he replied.
As Carlson retorted that he wasn’t suggesting that, the Mississippi lawmaker added that “Mr. Putin is asking and he has a right to ask it and so do you — I find myself on the other side of the issue.”
“I’m not sure I understand that implication,” the host responded.
Carlson told the senator that he hoped Wicker wasn’t trying to impugn his motive and tie him to Putin “as some on the left do.”
“Let me ask again, we were told a year ago that the sarin gas attack in Syria was committed by Assad’s” government Carlson stated, adding that there is still no evidence the Syrian president used sarin gas in April 2017.
An initial assessment by the United States has not determined whether the chemical attack in Douma was carried out by Syrian government forces, according to Reuters.
The assessment also suggested that a nerve agent was used in the suspected poison attack, but further evidence was needed to determine the type of agent, US government sources told the news agency.
President Donald Trump has threatened to respond “forcefully” to the alleged chemical attack despite strong warnings from Russia. US officials and media have accused the Assad government and Moscow for the chemical attack.