White House: US and France promise a 'strong, joint response' on Syria after suspected chemical attack

  • Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on Sunday and agreed to coordinate a "strong, joint response" on Syria.

  • Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria is suspected of using chemical weapons that killed at least 40 civilians and injuring hundreds more on Saturday.

  • Macron previously declared Syria's use of chemical weapons a "red line" and said, if ever confirmed, France "will strike" in response.

President Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, agreed the US and France will plan a "strong, joint response" on Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria.

The two spoke on Sunday, a day after a suspected chemical attack killed at least 40 civilians in Douma, a suburb of Damascus in the Eastern Ghouta area.

"Both leaders strongly condemned the horrific chemical weapons attacks in Syria and agreed that the Assad regime must be held accountable for its continued human rights abuses," a White House readout from the call read. "They agreed to exchange information on the nature of the attacks and coordinate a strong, joint response."

Just last month the two heads of state spoke about the implementation of a 30-day ceasefire in Syria, to allow for the transportation of humanitarian aid.

Ian Bremmer, president of geopolitical-risk firm Eurasia Group, told Business Insider earlier on Sunday that Trump may order another strike on Syria if it can confirm chemical weapons were used, as he did in April 2017.

Bremmer also predicted the US may partner with France in conducting a strike, as Macron "recently put out his own red lines against Assad, saying that he would strike any base that lethal chemical attacks were launched from. He said he'd do it by himself."

"On chemical weapons, I set a red line and I reaffirm that red line," Macron said in February. "If we have proven evidence that chemical weapons proscribed in treaties are used, we will strike the place where they are made."

The US and France, along with other nations, called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to be held on Monday "in reference to the horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians in Syria," UN Ambassador Nikki Haley tweeted Sunday afternoon.

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