Dozens have died in the incident which has been condemned by the United States and the European Union.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on April 9, 2018

US President Donald Trump is fuming over a suspected chemical attack which occurred in Syria on Saturday, tweeting that there will be a “big price to pay”.

“President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad,” the tweet continues.

Footage from rescue workers shows dozens of people, including children, violently convulsing, foaming at the mouth and gasping for air during the aftermath of the attack.

The attack took place in Douma, a rebel-held town northeast of Damascus. It is the latest in a long line of violent incidents during Syria’s civil war, which has now raged for seven years. If confirmed as a chemical attack, it would be the eighth since President Trump took office.

If confirmed as a chemical attack, it would be the eighth since President Trump took office.

There are reports that more than 70 people have died and more than 500 people have been injured in the attack.

Victims of the attack reported a strong chloride smell in the area. The industrial chemical had previously been used in attacks in Syria.

US-Syria relations

The Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies have denied any involvement and claimed reports of a chemical attack are fabricated.

Trump’s response to the attack introduces a new complication to US–Syria relations. In April 2017, Trump ordered a missile attack on Syria as a response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in the town of Khan Shaykhun.

As recently as last week, however, Trump had signaled his intent to withdraw the 2,000 ground troops the US has stationed in Syria.

Now the US is considering its next actions in Syria, a country which is of key strategic importance in the ongoing fight against Islamic State.

The US government said it was attempting to verify whether chemical weapons had been used in Douma.

Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Thomas Bossert told ABC news that he “wouldn’t take anything off the table”, as a response to Saturday’s incident.

Attack condemned by world leaders

The British Foreign Office demanded an urgent investigation into the incident. It said that if it was found that chemical weapons had been used, “it is further proof of Assad’s brutality”.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson released a statement describing reports of the attack as “deeply disturbing”.

“It is truly horrific to think that many of the victims were reportedly families seeking refuge from airstrikes in underground shelters,” he wrote.

Pope Francis also joined the chorus of leaders condemning the reported attack. “Nothing, but nothing, can justify the use of such instruments on defenceless people and populations,” he told a mass at St. Peter’s Square.

The United Nations Security Council will hold two emergency meetings on the issue, CNN reported.