US Republican Senator Rand Paul says he has seen no evidence that could justify claims about the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carrying out the suspected chemical attack in the town of Douma, and that the attack was used as a pretext to “galvanize the world” against the Syrian leader.
“I still look at the attack and say, you know, either Assad must be the dumbest dictator on the planet — or maybe he didn’t do it. I have yet to see evidence that he did do it,” Paul said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.
The Kentucky senator said it was unlikely that the Syrian government carried out the attack particularly after its forces have been winning the war against terrorists and militant groups in the Arab country for the past two years.
“The only thing that would galvanize the world to attack Assad directly is a chemical attack. It killed relatively few people compared to what can be killed with traditional bombs … and so you wonder really what logic would there be for Assad to be using chemical weapons,” Paul noted.
Back on April 7, a suspected chemical attack on the town of Douma, in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, reportedly killed 60 people and injured hundreds more. Western countries blamed the incident on the Syrian government, but Damascus strongly rejected the accusations as “chemical fabrications” made by the terrorists themselves in a bid to halt pro-government forces’ advances.
The US, Britain and France launched a barrage of cruise missiles on different Syrian government targets on Saturday morning, targeting what they called chemical weapons sites in retaliation for the Douma incident.
US President Donald Trump tweeted “Mission Accomplished” later in the day after the tripartite coalition launched more than 100 cruise missiles inside Syria over the suspected gas attack.
Washington claimed it had proof that Syrian government forces conducted the deadly chemical weapons attack on April 7, without providing any evidence.
The Syrian government surrendered its chemical weapons stockpile in 2014 during a process monitored by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.
The strike has drawn global outcry since it was carried out before the international chemical weapons watchdog could probe the incident.
In condemning the US-led attack, the Syrian president said the missile strikes would only strengthen his nation’s resolve to keep its fight against Western-backed terror groups and “crush terrorism in every inch of the nation.”