An international team of chemical weapons investigators prepared to deploy to Syria on Tuesday as the White House weighed a possible U.S. military response to a suspected chemical attack that killed dozens of people outside of Damascus.
President Donald Trump canceled a trip to Latin America so he could oversee the U.S. response to Saturday’s incident in the town of Douma, and conferred on Syria in phone calls with the leaders of France and Britain. Trump said Monday that he would decide within 48 hours how best to respond, but the impending visit of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons may push the timetable further out.
As pressure and threats mounted, the United States and Russia used their vetoes at the United Nations Security Council to cancel out each other’s proposals for investigations into the attack and who was responsible.
In Damascus, the Syrian military was put on alert as measures were taken to protect airports and military bases against a possible airstrike. The USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer, arrived in the eastern Mediterranean in recent days.
At day’s end, it was uncertain whether a military strike had been averted, or merely delayed.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Carol Morello