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Corker Reacts to New Footage from Aftermath of Chemical Attack in Syria: “Horror”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Says Syrian President Assad Should Be “Locked Up for Life”

WASHINGTON – Appearing on CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, responded to new video that shows victims in the immediate aftermath of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime’s chemical weapons attack in Syria that provoked U.S. missile strikes authorized by President Donald Trump last month.

“I imagine like every American, horror. This barbaric leader has been doing this for years,” said Corker after being asked for his reaction to the footage. “I thanked President Trump for responding in the way that he did, but [the conflict] continues. [Assad]’s supported by Russia. He's supported by Iran. He needs to be put away in a tribunal and locked up for life.”

“I know this has captured the imagination, I hate to say, of the world that is able to view this [video],” continued Corker. “But this is what we have been seeing for years. We visit people in refugee camps. We know this is underway. America has stood by, as has the rest of the world, and let this occur… There are no easy answers.”

Corker acknowledged the U.S. could use Moscow’s complicity in the chemical attack to pressure the Russian government into distancing itself from the regime.

“What we have now is a situation where Russia has a window of opportunity,” added Corker. “I know that [Secretary of State Rex Tillerson] is exploring that right now, and do they want to stay aligned with this barbaric ruler who is torturing his people in prisons? …Is that who they want to stand with? Or do they want to join the rest of the world and do away with the support that they have for this person, get Iran to join them, and let’s move away from what’s happening.”

Asked about next steps for the U.S. in Syria, Corker said the Trump administration can plan for additional punitive measures should Russia continue to back Assad while he commits war crimes.

“There’s more that can be done. We could basically ground much of the air force that operates out of there,” added Corker. “Again, I’m not advocating that today. Again, there’s a window. Let’s see what Russia does. If Russia wants to continue to be a party to what’s happening here – they are in essence, by supporting him, they are to blame for what is happening to these people – so if this is where they want to be, we’ll get a clear understanding of that soon, and then the administration can plan out additional steps if necessary.”