Trump says 'nice and new and 'smart'' missiles heading toward Syria
President Trump declared that he would fire missiles at Syria, and proclaimed in a tweet that "nice and new and 'smart'" weapons would soon be launched.
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
About an hour later Trump tweeted
Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War. There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together. Stop the arms race?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
Trump has openly mulled attacking the Bashar Assad regime after accusations that it used chemical weapons against one of the last pockets of rebels in Douma last weekend.
The World Health Organization said in a statement Wednesday that 43 of the 70 people reported dead after the alleged attack in Syria had signs of highly toxic chemicals.
The attack was condemned worldwide by countries such as the U.S., though Assad's supporters including Russia have said there is no evidence that such an attack even occurred and vowed to respond to any attacks against its ally.
"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" Trump posted Wednesday.
The President’s threat was just hours after the Kremlin’s ambassador to Lebanon warned Russia would down any U.S. rockets headed for Syria.
“If there is a strike by the Americans, then...the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,”Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin said to the Hezbollah-run al-Manar TV in a Tuesday night broadcast cited by Rueters.
Trump didn’t indicate when the missiles might launch, and has previously lambasted leaders for giving up the element of surprise.
Last year the U.S. fired cruise missiles at a regime airfield following a chemical attack that Syria and Russia deny, but the United Nations attributed to the Assad government.
Though there is no authorization for use of military force against the Syrian government, President Trump had promised a “big price to pay” for the latest alleged attack.
"Smart missiles should fly in the direction of terrorists, not a lawful government," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova posted on Facebook in response to Trump's tweet.
She said that missile strikes, which come along with the prospect of Russian and American troops fighting each other in the Middle East, may cover up evidence for international inspectors looking into the attack.
Russian and U.S.-led proposals for investigations into the matter each fizzled at the UN on Tuesday, though Assad says that he would welcome investigators from the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Details on the ground have been hard to verify, though the WHO's statement contradicts claims that there was no chemical weapon use.
Syrian and Russian denials of last year's gas attack said that the tragedy occurred when a weapons depot was bombed.
The WHO said that it was only conducting an “epidemiological” investigation rather one that would delve into the circumstances of the use of the weapons.