World Bulletin / News Desk
President Donald Trump will skip a summit in Latin America this week to oversee the U.S. response to a suspected chemical attack in Syria after he threatened military action, the White House confirmed Tuesday.
Trump was scheduled to attend the April 13-14 Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, and travel to Bogota, Colombia, but he has requested Vice President Mike Pence to attend in his place, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
"The president will remain in the United States to oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world,” Sanders said in a statement.
The American president met the country's military leadership Monday night to discuss the U.S. response to an alleged chemical attack outside of Damascus blamed on the Assad regime that killed dozens of people and injured hundreds of others.
The White Helmets, a civil defense agency, blamed the Syrian regime for the attack in Eastern Ghouta's Douma, which, it said killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of other victims.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed its fact-finding mission is investigating "to establish whether chemical weapons were used".
Prior to the start of last night's meeting with the military brass, Trump told reporters the U.S. is "getting some very good clarity" on who carried out the attack, saying the public would know "pretty soon" about the U.S. military retaliation.
"Probably after the fact," he said.
Trump vowed anyone responsible for the attack, including Russia, will "pay a price".
The White House has pushed back on criticism blaming Trump for the attack after he said he wanted to remove all U.S. forces from Syria.
"It is outrageous to say that the president of the United States greenlit something as atrocious as the actions that have taken place," Sanders told reporters.
Asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin bears responsibility for this weekend's attack on civilians, Trump said Putin "may" be held responsible.
"If he does it’s going to be very tough, very tough," Trump said. "Everybody’s gonna pay a price. He will, everybody will."
"If it’s the Russians, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran, if it’s all of them together, we’ll figure it out,” he added.Last Mod: 10 Nisan 2018, 17:17