Trump still wants out of Syria quickly
The White House said Monday that President Donald Trump still intends an early exit for U.S. troops in Syria, despite French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion Sunday that he had convinced Trump to keep them there for the “long term.”
Macron’s remarks had hinted at a major policy shift for Trump, but “our policy hasn’t changed,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Meanwhile, the head of a chemical watchdog group said Monday that Syrian and Russian authorities prevented independent investigators from going to the scene of the suspected chemical attack on April 7 in Douma, a Damascus suburb.
Ahmet Uzumcu, directorgeneral of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said Syrian and Russian officials cited “pending security issues” in keeping its nine inspectors out.
Instead, Syrian authorities offered them 22 people to interview as witnesses, he said.
Early Tuesday, the government-run Central Military media reported a missile attack on the Shayrat air base in Homs province. It said Syrian air defenses shot down most of the six missiles fired at the base. It also reported a separate airstrike on the Dumayr air base near Damascus.
It did not elaborate or say who carried out the airstrikes. A Pentagon spokeswoman said there was no U.S. military activity in the area.
In another development, the White House pulled back Monday on suggestions made Sunday by Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, that new sanctions against Russia — Syrian President Bashar Assad’s main backer — would be announced immediately.
“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia, and a decision will be made in the near future,” Sanders told reporters.