By Deandra Jilani and Yejin Shin
Feature Editor and Staff Reporter
Recently, dozens of Syrians were killed in a suspected chemical attack in the rebel-held city of Douma, east of Damascus. Rescue workers in Syria have reported a death toll of at least 42 people. They are said to have died due to suffocation. Medical groups say the number could rise as rescue workers gain access to basements where poison gas could have been seeped down. According to the Syrian- American Medical Centre, more than 500 people were brought to medical centres in Douma. The Medical Centre also announced that patients from the attack are suffering from breathing difficulties, bluish skin, mouth foaming, and corneal burns.
The Syrian Civil war has been raging for seven years, causing an estimated 353,900 deaths and another 56,900 people missing and presumed dead. The United Nations estimated 6.5 million had been displaced within Syria, and more than 3 million had fled to Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. The recent chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma has sparked major controversy due to its severity and the amount of damage it inflicted upon civilians.
On April 9, 2018, American President Donald Trump announced that Syria attack will be met forcefully and US response would be decided shortly. During a cabinet meeting, Trump told reporters about how the US cannot allow “atrocious” chemical weapons to be used on civilians in Syria.
Russia and Syria have always had somewhat of a strong relationship, and Russian support for Syria increased significantly during the Arab Spring in 2011. Until now Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir V. Putin of Russia have been able to maintain a strong bond both militarily and politically. This was shown when Russia vetoed the inquiry about the chemical attacks in Douma. Trump sent out a tweet condemning the attack. In this tweet, he blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran for supporting the Syrian government, and warned that there will be serious consequences.
In April 2017, President Trump had launched missiles at a Syrian airbase after a chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun that took the lives of more than 80 people. The goal of Trump’s attack was to send a signal that future chemical attacks would be met with extreme force from the US. Recently, Trump and his national security team have possibly been planning an air-strike against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in retaliation against the supposed use of chemical weapons that killed and injured dozens of civilians.