Chemical attack tops agenda for new national security advisor

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON -

A horrific chemical attack in Syria is on the top of the agenda for President Donald Trump's new national security advisor.

Today is the first day on the job for President Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, who has previously advocated significant airstrikes against Syria.

Video out of eastern Ghouta appears to show hundreds of people bombarded with a suspected chemical agent. Dozens of people have reportedly died, including children. There was a similar attack in 2017.

Sunday, Trump blasted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a tweet, calling him "an animal." And for the first time, Trump called out Russian President Vladimir Putin by name for supporting Syria. Trump plans to confer with senior military leaders today, after he threatened a "big price to pay" for a suspected poison gas attack in Syria that killed women and children.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. is not ruling out military airstrikes against Syria in response to the government's alleged use of toxic gas against civilians.
At a photo-taking session in the Pentagon before a meeting with the emir of Qatar today, Mattis said the Trump administration is consulting with allies in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Asked by a reporter about a possible U.S. military response, Mattis said, "I don't rule out anything right now."
Mattis also said the "first thing" the administration is considering is why chemical weapons are being used at all in Syria. Russia was a guarantor of a deal the Obama administration struck in 2013 in which Syria was to have removed all of its chemical weapons. Mattis added that the administration will work with other countries to "address this issue."

AP wires were used in this report

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