Trump dials back Syria message as Britain, Germany mull response

President Donald Trump (R), alongside Senator John Thune, R-S.D., participates in a meeting on trade with governors and members of Congress at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI

April 12 (UPI) — President Donald Trump indicated Thursday that an attack on Syria may not be imminent — in a tweet with a much different message than one he sent a day earlier to “get ready” for a missile strike.

After a Russian diplomat warned that any U.S. missiles fired at Syria will be shot down and their launch sites targeted, Trump tweeted Wednesday to “get ready.”

“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!’,” the tweet read. “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

Thursday, Trump signaled an updated stance.

“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” his tweet read. “In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our ‘Thank you America?'”

Possible strikes in Syria have been the forefront of discussion since an attack last weekend that killed dozens and injured hundreds in Douma, a town in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta.

Officials said at least one helicopter dropped a bomb of chemicals that suffocated a number of civilians, including children. Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis said this week they’re not ruling out the possibility of a military response.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was set to hold a cabinet meetingThursday to discuss possibly joining the United States and allies in military action, saying the weekend chemical attack on Douma “cannot go unchallenged.”

May and Trump spoke by phone on Wednesday, in which they discussed the attack. She has said “all the indications” are that the chemical attack came from the Syrian regime of president Bashar al-Assad, who has denied responsibility.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday her country is ready to help, but not militarily.

Merkel said Berlin supports sending “a clear signal that the use of chemical weapons” is unacceptable — but added the German military “will not participate.”

Merkel said other measures under possible consideration include supporting the work of the United Nations Security Council and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons watchdog.

Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said his country will not conduct airstrikes on Syria. Trudeau noted Canada’s armed forces are already involved in Latvia and Iraq and have plans to deploy to Mali.


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