Top general says Trump has military options if Syria uses chemical weapons

Top general says Trump has military options if Syria uses chemical weapons
© Getty Images

The United States's top general said Saturday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE has been presented with military options should Syria ignore U.S. warnings and use chemical weapons in an offensive against the rebel-held Idlib.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no decision has been made by the White House to use military force in response to a possible chemical attack, according to Reuters.

“But we are in a dialogue, a routine dialogue, with the president to make sure he knows where we are with regard to planning in the event that chemical weapons are used,” Dunford told reporters during a trip to India.

ADVERTISEMENT

“He expects us to have military options and we have provided updates to him on the development of those military options,” he added, according to Reuters.

The Trump administration has warned for days about an expected assault on Idlib, the last major stronghold for rebels fighting in Syria, while urging Syrian leader Bashar Assad and his allies not to use chemical weapons.

“President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy," Trump tweeted earlier this week.

"Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!”

Trump has already launched two retaliatory strikes against Syria since taking office in response to chemical attacks that killed civilians, the second of which was done in conjunction with British and French forces. 

A top French official said last week that France was prepared to again strike Syria if its military used chemical weapons.

An attack on Idlib could be a decisive battle in a war that has left more than half a million people dead and forced millions to flee their homes.