The administration of US President Donald Trump is considering military action against Syria over this week's alleged chemical attack in the Arab country and declared that President Bashar al-Assad has no future in leading Syria.
Trump said Thursday that "something should happen" with regard to Assad in the wake of Tuesday’s attack, which US officials say Assad perpetrated.
“I think what Assad did is terrible. I think what happened in Syria is one of the truly egregious crimes. It shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't be allowed to happen," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. "I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. He's there, and I guess he's running things, so something should happen."
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also warned that Assad must leave. The US priorities in Syria would be a “political process that would lead to Assad leaving,” Tillerson told reporters in Florida, ahead of Trump's summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Earlier Thursday, Trump told some lawmakers in Congress that he is considering military action against Syria in retaliation for the attack.
US officials tell CNN the Defense Department has several options to strike Syria's chemical weapons capability and has presented those options to the Trump administration.
On Tuesday, a suspected chemical attack targeted the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province, which reportedly killed over 70 people and injured dozens more.
The attack was followed by alleged air raids that struck a hospital where victims of the assault were being treated.
Speaking on Wednesday at a joint press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in the White House, Trump called the attack a "heinous" act.
"Yesterday's chemical attack, a chemical attack that was so horrific in Syria against innocent people, including women, small children and even beautiful little babies, their deaths were an affront to humanity," Trump said.
Western countries have pointed the finger at Damascus over the attack while Syria’s opposition has accused the Syrian government of bombing Khan Shaykhun with chemical munitions.
Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Thursday that terrorist groups continue stockpiling chemical weapons in the country’s urban and residential areas.
Muallem assured that Damascus did not and would not use chemical arms, even against terror outfits.
The top Syrian diplomat also noted that the Syrian military had carried out an airstrike on a depot, where terrorists stored chemical weapons.
Since March 2011, Syria has been gripped by militancy it blames on some Western states and their regional allies. Russia has been assisting the Syrian army in its counter-terrorism operations.