Trump warns Syria against ‘slaughter,’ denies he wanted to assassinate Assad

September 5, 2018

President Trump warned SyriaWednesdaynot to launch a slaughter of millions of innocent civilians trapped by government forces in a rebel-held province, and also refuted an accusation in a new book that he wanted to assassinate Syrian President Bashar Assad last year.

There cannot be a slaughter, Mr. Trump said of the crisis in Syrias Idlib province. If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry and the United States is going to get very angry, too. I am watching that very closely.

Syrian forces have surrounded Idlib, home to as many as 3 million, including refugees driven from their homes in other conflict zones in Syria. The government claims there are thousands of terrorists hiding among the population.

“I think it’s a very sad situationIts surrounded by a lot of people with a lot of weapons, Mr. Trump said. They feel that they have 35,000 of their enemy there. And yet you have 3 million people living there. Hopefully, they will ultimately be very, very judicious and careful, because the world is watching. You have 3 million, at least, innocent people there. And you have to be very, very careful.

Mr. Trump has ordered two series of air strikes against Syrian forces in the past 18 months in response to Syrias use of chemical weapons against civilians. The U.S. also has been warning Russia, which is backing Assad militarily in Syrias long-running civil war.

Journalist Bob Woodward has written in a new book that Mr. Trump implored Defense Secretary James N. Mattis to kill Assad after a chemical-weapons attack in Syria in April 2017 that left hundreds of civilians dead, including children. The president dismissed the allegationWednesday.

Asked by reporters if he wanted Assad assassinated, Mr. Trump replied, Not at all. Uh, never even discussed. The book is fiction. That was never even contemplated, nor would it be contemplated. And it should not have been written about in the book.

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