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Michigan U.S. Senator wants Trump to take a harder line with Putin on Syria

Apr 11, 2017

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) wants to see the Trump administration put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over his support of the Syrian government.

Putin criticized last week’s U-S air strike on a Syrian airfield, where a chemical weapons attack was launched on a Syrian city.

The Michigan Democrat says President Trump should pressure his Russian counterpart to drop his support of  Syrian Preisdent Bashar al-Assad, who Peters describes as a “war criminal’.

“The president needs to call out Putin for failing to protect people from chemical weapons and he needs to be called out for propping up someone who is basically a war criminal,” says Peters (D-MI).

A senior U.S. official says the United States has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week.

The official says a Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital in Syria as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment.

Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.

Until Monday, U.S. officials had said they weren't sure if the drone was operated by Russia or Syria. The senior official said it still wasn't clear who was flying the jet that bombed the hospital.

The official said the presence of the drone couldn't have been a coincidence, and that Russia must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment.

The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly on intelligence matters and demanded anonymity.