Trump, Macron Agree to 'Strong, Joint Response' to Assad's Chemical Attack

Trump says that Russia and Iran are responsible for the Assad regime's atrocities, and promises that there will be a 'heavy price' to pay for it

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands while posing for photographs in France, July 13, 2017.

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump spoke on Sunday with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and the two agreed to "coordinate a strong, joint response" to the latest chemical attack in Syria.

To really understand the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

According to a summary of the phone call released by the White House, the phone conversation focused on Syria, and the two leaders "strongly condemned the horrific chemical weapons attacks." They also agreed that "the Assad regime must be held accountable for its continued human rights abuses." 

<< Donald Trump wants out of Syria. Israel thinks that's a problem >>

The call took place hours after Trump addressed the chemical attack on his Twitter account, writing that Russia and Iran are responsible for the Assad regime's atrocities, and promising that there will be a "heavy price" to pay for it.

Trump didn't go into specific details regarding his administration's plans to address the latest chemical attack, which has led to the deaths of dozens of people in a suburb of Damascus. 

>>After Assad's chemical attack, Israel awaits Trump's next move in Syria | Analysis ■ The preventable war crime: How the West failed to prevent one Syrian chemical attack after another | Analysis >>

Last April, Trump ordered a lone missile strike against a Syrian air force base following a previous chemical weapons attack carried out by the Assad regime. While that attack won Trump political praise in Washington and in the Middle East, it didn't cause a fundamental change in the Syrian arena, and didn't deter Bashar Assad from carrying out similar attacks in the past year. 

Trump is currently contemplating his administration's long-term policy on Syria. He has expressed on a number of occasions his will to withdraw all U.S. forces from the country and leave it to the responsibility of other actors, such as Syria. This idea has met strong resistance from within the U.S. security establishment, and is also seen negatively by Israel, which believes an American withdrawal will strengthen Iran.