Yadlin noted US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a potential near-term US withdrawal from Syria as a major factor emboldening Assad, along with the recent Syria-Iran-Turkey summit.
4. Assad's squadron of helicopters that drop barrel bombs should be grounded once and for all. Even without poison gas, these vehicles are used to launch inaccurate explosives that inflict terror and death on Syrian civilians.— Amos Yadlin (@YadlinAmos) April 8, 2018
In April 2017, Trump ordered a barrage of Tomahawk missiles fired at Syrian targets related to its chemical weapons program.The quick and decisive response by Trump was hailed by Israel and some US Sunni allies as a sign of the return of the US to a dominant and more involved position in the Middle East after perceptions that the Obama administration was reducing the US’s footprint and influence.Also, the decisive action was contrasted to Obama’s red-line threat that the US would intervene militarily in Syria if the Assad regime used chemical weapons as part of the civil war.Obama eventually stepped back from his threat and cut a deal with Assad to give up his chemical weapons arsenal, though the ongoing uses of those weapons have left the question of how much Assad really gave up in dispute.Despite the 2017 series of events, there is far greater doubt currently that Trump will order another attack after Saturday’s events. While the Pentagon would like to maintain an influential US presence on the ground there, Trump has mostly sent messages that with ISIS mostly defeated, he wants the US out of Syria.Damascus has denied the chemical attack and said the rebels in Douma, who are massively outgunned and completely encircled, were collapsing and spreading false news. However, the Assad regime has also denied other uses of chemical weapons and massacres which the US, the UN and most Western countries confirmed as true.The US State Department said reports of mass casualties from the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma were "horrifying" and would, if confirmed, "demand an immediate response by the international community."
2. It is important that the US repeat what it did one year ago – by responding in a way that damages Assad's ability to produce and launch chemical weapons.— Amos Yadlin (@YadlinAmos) April 8, 2018