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President Donald Trump: Time To End War In Syria

President Donald Trump said Wednesday it was “time to end this brutal civil war” in Syria and return refugees to their homeland.

Trump spoke at a news conference alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, whom he welcomed to the White House on an official trip.

The president praised the established security alliance and highlighted challenges in the face of migration and terrorism.

“We must also work together to resolve the disaster currently taking place in Syria,” he said, commending NATO for its condemnation of a chemical attack in Syria last week.

“The vicious slaughter of innocent civilians with chemical weapons, including the barbaric killing of small and helpless children and babies, must be forcefully rejected by any nation that values human life,” Trump said.

“It is time to end this brutal civil war, defeat terrorists, and allow refugees to return home.”

The U.S. responded with force to the chemical weapons attack that killed scores of victims in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun.

Tomahawk missiles fired from U.S. destroyers in the Mediterranean struck an airbase American officials believe was used to launch the attack. The U.S. holds the Bashar al-Assad’s regime responsible.

The six-year conflict has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of victims and the displacement of millions of others.

More than 5 million Syrians are living in neighboring countries as refugees, according to the UN, with Turkey alone hosting nearly 3 million.

Trump said it was possible Russia knew the Khan Shaykhun attack in advance as he responded to questions following the news conference.

“I would like to think that they didn’t know, but certainly they could have. They were there,” he said.

Trump described the relationship between the U.S. and Russia as “maybe at an all-time low”.

The U.S. strike raised tensions between Washington and Moscow — relations that were already strained due to Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As Trump spoke, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on an official visit to Moscow where he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reaffirmed the two countries’ joint fight against terrorism.

During the press conference with Stoltenberg, Trump reiterated that NATO members must “meet their financial obligations and pay what they owe” by contributing 2 percent of their GDP.

He vowed to work to “enhance this partnership” and said he looked forward to visiting Brussels — home to NATO headquarters and seat of key European institutions — this spring.

Trump also backtracked on his past criticism of NATO’s effectiveness in fighting terrorism.

“I said it was obsolete. It is no longer obsolete,” he said.

Anadolu Agency

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