April 12, 2018 / 10:26 AM / 3 months ago

Trump says Syria attack 'could be very soon or not so soon at all'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump amended on Thursday an earlier warning of a swift military strike against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians, saying it “could be very soon or not so soon at all”.

U.S. President Donald Trump looks up before signing H.R. 1865 "The Allow States and Victims To Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act" at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump had vowed to take swift and decisive action against Syria since reports of a suspected poison gas attack that killed dozens of people. Damascus has denied responsibility for the incident that has widened a rift between the West and Moscow, which backs Syria’s government.

On Wednesday, even though Trump had previously said he would not “broadcast” his moves in Syria, he said in a post on Twitter that missiles “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’”

However, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis struck a more cautious tone later on Wednesday, saying that Washington was still assessing intelligence on the suspected toxic gas attack.

Reporting by Michael Holden and Makini Brice; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and David Stamp

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