White House Warns That Further U.S. Military Action in Syria is Possible

By Melanie Arter | April 10, 2017 | 6:56 PM EDT

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House said Monday that it reserves the option of “future action” against Syria if President Bashar al-Assad gasses his people or attacks them again with barrel bombs.

“The sight of people being gassed and blown away by barrel bombs ensures that if we see this kind of action again, we hold open the possibility of future action,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

Spicer said the missile strikes on the Syrian airbase destroyed 20 percent of Syria’s fixed wing aircraft.

When asked why it is okay to bomb Syria but not okay to assist the Syrian refugees, Spicer said the U.S. took action in Syria to stop the proliferation of chemical weapons, adding that “when you see mass weapons of destruction being used, it should be a concern to every nation, especially our own people.”

“The proliferation of those weapons pose a grave threat to our national security. Number one, we have to stop that. Number two, we have to stop ISIS, but with respect to Syria, by us taking action and de-escalating what’s going on in Syria, that’s the greatest thing you can do to support those people. De-escalating the conflict there, containing ISIS, is the greatest aspect of humanitarian relief that we can provide first and foremost,” Spicer said.

“Secondly, creating areas in which we can work with allies, including Russia, and committing to and ensuring that there are places that are free from violence and are places that are free to gather safely is another, because I think everyone would agree that the last thing the people want to do there is leave. They want to stay there. They want to be in Syria,” he said.

Spicer said the number one priority of the Trump administration is to defeat ISIS, but “we’re also I think from a humanitarian standpoint and a refugee standpoint ensuring that we create an environment that provides a safe place for them to ultimately remain.”

When asked to respond to Russia saying that the U.S. is in danger of a real war in the Middle East, Spicer said, “I think that if you look at the countries that are with us, it speaks pretty loudly the number of countries that have stood shoulder to shoulder with this president. Russia, on the other hand, stands with Syria, North Korea, and Iran.

“I think when you contrast the two groups of countries, ... it’s pretty clear that we’re on the right side of this issue,” he said.

Spicer announced that the U.S. special envoy for Syria will be coming to Washington on Tuesday for consultations with the State Department and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster at the White House.

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