Washington (April 11, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticized President Donald Trump’s warnings that he intends to conduct military strikes in retaliation for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons that killed dozens of Syrian civilians in the Damascus suburb of Douma.


“Bashar al-Assad’s murder of innocent Syrian civilians by poison gas is horrifying, and the use of chemical weapons is barbaric and must never happen,” said Senator Markey.


“But President Trump’s attack last year on the Syrian government in retaliation for their use of chemical weapons was neither operationally nor strategically successful. A year later, President Trump has yet to articulate a cogent strategy outlining U.S. interests and objectives in Syria, much less how to achieve them. As we saw last year, absent a robust diplomatic process, military strikes will not change Assad’s calculus regarding the use of chemical weapons against his own people.


“Before President Trump conducts military operations, he must come to Congress for authorization.  Numerous, large-scale attacks on another country without Congressional authorization are unconstitutional, and they push the United States closer to what could be an interminable, all-out conflict in Syria. And announcing military actions over Twitter is the height of irresponsibility and contradicts the President’s own previous commitment never to disclose America’s plans publicly.


“Last year, President Trump failed to launch a multi-faceted diplomatic process in Syria and appears ready to repeat that failure again. Instead of carrying out an attack that could draw us further into a bloody Syrian quagmire, President Trump should outline a course to responsibly draw down U.S. forces currently operating in Syria. Holding Russia, Iran, and Syria accountable for their support for the continuing civil war does not require military force. Only diplomatic engagement, not military escalation, will end the Syrian civil war, which should be the ultimate goal in the region.”