Trump after chemical attack: Russia ‘responsible’ for backing Syria

Trump after chemical attack: Russia ‘responsible’ for backing Syria
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE on Sunday had strong words for Russian President Vladimir Putin following what he called a "mindless chemical attack in Syria."

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world," Trump tweeted.

"President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"

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The State Department on Sunday condemned Russia for supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, but the tweet represents strong words from Trump, who has rarely criticized Putin directly.

“The United States calls on Russia to end this unmitigated support immediately and work with the international community to prevent further, barbaric chemical weapons attacks,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Dozens were killed and hundreds were inured in an alleged chemical attack in eastern Ghouta on Saturday.

Nauert said U.S. officials are closely following the “disturbing reports … regarding another alleged chemical weapons attack, this time targeting a hospital in Douma, Syria.”

Damascus has denied responsibility for the attack, Reuters reported.

Trump administration officials told The Associated Press in February they believed forces loyal to Assad might have been in the process of working on new or more refined chemical weapons.

Trump said last year that reports of a deadly gas attack by forces loyal to Assad had “crossed a lot of lines.” On Sunday, he blamed his predecessor, former President Obama, for not ending "the Syrian disaster."