Apr 12, 2018

Awaiting Trump's "final decision" in Syria

President Trump has made “no final decision” on military action in Syria after meeting with his national security team this afternoon, the White House says.

Data: Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit as of April 9; Map: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Why it matters: U.S. allies and adversaries alike are waiting for a signal from Trump, who yesterday warned that missiles “will be coming” but has avoided making similar statements today. He tweeted that the response could come “very soon or not so soon at all” and told reporters “we’ll see what happens.”

The latest: The U.S. has blood and urine samples from Saturday’s attack in Syria which “have tested positive for chemical weapons,” NBC News reports, citing officials who said “intelligence from the U.S. and other countries, including images” indicates the Assad regime was responsible

What’s next: Trump just spoke with U.K. Prime Minister May and will also speak with French President Macron this evening. Both countries appeared to move closer to military action today...

  • In the U.K.: May’s cabinet unanimously agreed it is “highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday’s attack” and “vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged.” The cabinet backed an “international response,” signaling the U.K. could take part in strikes.
  • In France: Macron said, “we have proof that last week chemical weapons, at least chlorine, were used by the regime of Bashar Al Assad.” Macron, who vowed last year that the use of chemical weapons "would result in reprisal and an immediate response,” said he would decide what action to take “in due course.”
  • In Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out military action but said Germany supports “everything done to send a signal that this use of chemical weapons is not acceptable.”

Worth noting: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Tuesday that the kingdom "will be present" in the international response "if our alliance with our partners requires it.”

Go deeper: Trump's options for striking in Syria.

Go deeper