Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blamed Russia for Syrian access to and use of chemical weapons on Monday.
“Countries that have been supportive of the Assad regime bear some of the responsibility for the chemical attacks on innocents,” he said.
“And those countries must also be part of the solution as we hold the Assad regime to account and as we move tangibly forward as an international community to ending this conflict in Syria.”
But Trudeau refuses to specify how that regime should be held to account nor if Canada will be part of any military solution.
Trudeau, who has repeatedly suggested that Canada is neither at war with ISIS nor Islamic extremism, has developed an increasingly hawkish tone since President Donald Trump’s decision to strike a Syrian airbase with Tomahawk cruise missiles. He says he now supports a regime change in Syria that would depose Bashar al-Assad.
Trudeau says he has received intelligence from President Donald Trump that has convinced him “beyond doubt” that Assad was responsble for the sarine gas attacks on Syrian citizens and that is a game-changer for him.
“The way forward in Syria can’t include Assad, whose recent chemical attack against his own people were abetted by those countries — Russia and Iran — that have allowed him to remain in power, Trudeau said at a news conference at Juno Beach in France, where a memorial marks the place where Canada made a decidedly military contribution to the D-Day victory of June 6, 1944 with combined American and British forces to establish a bridgehead in German-occupied France.
“There is no question that anyone who is guilty of the types of war crimes against innocents, against children, that Assad and his regime are needs to be held to account,” he said at a news conference.
“We need to move as quickly as possible towards peace and stability in Syria that does not involve Bashar al-Assad.”
Trudeau’s evasiveness may be influenced by the ambiguity coming from the Trump administration as to whether last Thursday’s cruise missile strike was a one time thing or the beginning of a military response to Syria.
Three times during Monday’s White House briefing, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer referenced barrel bombs as another justification for launching attacks on Assad.
“I will tell you: … if you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb into innocent people, I think you will see a response from this president,” Spicer said. Later, however, the administration was playing down the idea of barrel bombs as a red line.
“Nothing has changed in our posture,” the White House said in a statement.”
But something might be changing in Trudeau’s anti-military posture.
“The raging civil war in Syria, the violent conflicts around the world require an international community that pulls together, that holds each other to account and that strives everyday not to repeat the terrible mistakes of the past,” he said on Sunday, while commemorating the 100th anniversary of Canada’s First World War victory at Vimy Ridge, in France.