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.

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April 2018 Syria attack leaves dozens dead
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April 2018 Syria attack leaves dozens dead
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 07: An affected Syrian child receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 07, 2018. (Photo by Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 07: An affected Syrian man receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 07, 2018. (Photo by Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 07: An affected Syrian kid waits to receive medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 07, 2018. (Photo by Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 07: Affected Syrian kids wait to receive medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 07, 2018. (Photo by Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 07: An affected Syrian man lies on a stretcher as he waits to get medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 07, 2018. (Photo by Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 07: Affected Syrian kids wait to receive medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 07, 2018. (Photo by Fadi Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
IDLIB, SYRIA - APRIL 08: A man holds a photo of a victim baby as he and other demonstrators gather to protest against Assad regime forces' allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta, in Saraqib town of Idlib, Syria on April 08, 2018. (Photo by Mahmut Bekkur/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 07: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'SYRIAN CIVIL DEFENSE (WHITE HELMETS) / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Affected Syrian kids receive medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 07, 2018. At least 78 civilians dead, including women and children, according to the initial findings. (Photo by WHITE HELMETS / HANDOUT/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 08: An affected Syrian kid receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 08, 2018. At least 78 civilians dead, including women and children, according to the initial findings. (Photo by Mouneb Taim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 08: An affected Syrian kid receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 08, 2018. At least 78 civilians dead, including women and children, according to the initial findings. (Photo by Mouneb Taim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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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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