'WASHINGTON – As the temperature of Syrian conflict is rising dramatically ahead of the Syrian government’s anticipated military offensive in the Idlib province, a new report published in the Wall Street Journal has revealed that President Donald Trump may not even wait for an accusation over the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons to launch a strike against the government and its military allies.
The alarming report, which relies on information provided by anonymous administration officials, further claimed that U.S. intelligence indicated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had approved an imminent attack on the rebel-held Idlib province using chlorine gas, a scenario that the U.S. government has repeatedly warned in recent weeks would result in retaliatory military action. This “new” U.S. intelligence notably fits the “pre-crime” narrative that has recently been promoted by a cadre of U.S. government officials, including UN Ambassador Nikki Haley who claimed that the Syrian government is guilty of chemical weapons attacks against civilians before they happen.
Another troubling development detailed in the WSJ report is the fact that the Trump administration is also mulling whether or not to expand military strikes to include not just Syrian government forces but also the forces of Syria’s military allies in the conflict, Iran and Russia. If a military option targeting Russian and Iranian forces moves forward, it could prove a dangerous escalation and potentially cause the conflict to spread well beyond the borders of Syria.
However, one of the most jarring yet most glossed over points made by the administration officials is that Trump may not even wait for any accusation of chemical weapons use to emerge before ordering a strike. As the Wall Street Journal notes, during recent exchanges within the White House, “President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib,” meaning that an attack that results in a certain number of deaths – whether using conventional weapons or chemical weapons — may also trigger a military response from the United States.'
Read more: Report: Trump May Strike Syria Even if No Chemical Weapons Accusation is Made
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