The White House is now working on what it calls a “red line” to ensure that the Trump Administration will not allow the Syrian regime to attack civilians.
A senior administration official told The American Caller News Foundation on Thursday that the administration is “considering” whether to move the United States from a red line, which is the ability to use chemical weapons to stop the spread of a deadly virus.
If the administration does not act to take that action, then the U.S. could be placed on a “precautionary” level of red line use, which would allow for military intervention.
“That means we would be in that category and that would trigger the response that we would see from the United Nations,” the official said.
The official said that the United states was “not at the point where we are going to go in and actually try to strike that [red line] at this point.”
The White the administration has not yet released a detailed plan for what to do with Syrian chemical weapons, but has said that it would take a “firm stand” if the chemical weapons attack occurs.
Under the Geneva agreement, the United nations is obligated to remove chemical weapons from Syria once they have been destroyed, but the Trump official said the administration will not be in a position to do so until “we get to the red lines.”
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue, said that “the first step” to resolving the issue is for the Trump team to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister.
The Trump administration has said it will not do so unless Russia provides assurances that Assad’s chemical weapons are not in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
In March, a group of U.N. inspectors said that they found evidence that the Assad regime was responsible for the March 21 chemical weapons attacks in the Damascus suburb of Khan Sheikhoun.
The inspectors said they had found “large quantities of the nerve agent sarin” and “evidence of a large-scale attack” by the regime against rebel-held areas.
The chemical weapons were likely used in the attack.
According to the Associated Press, the U,S., and Russia have been in contact for weeks over the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, but neither side has yet made any promises about ending the war.
Earlier on Thursday, the White House issued a statement condemning the attack in Khan Sheikhun and saying that it is a “clear violation of international law.”
The statement said the U.,S., Russia, and “a handful of other countries” were “allocating substantial resources and efforts to prevent the spread” of the deadly nerve agent in Syria.
Trump is scheduled to meet Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and the president is expected to announce his plans for Syria later in the day.