A photograph taken during a March 23, 2018, bombardment in the rebel-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta outside Damascus.
The United States is building a coalition against Syria to respond to an alleged chemical weapons attack on April 7 against civilians and rebel forces in Douma, near Damascus. The primary objective of an operation against Syria will be to deter the further use of chemical weapons, something that a punitive missile strike launched last April by the United States did only temporarily. This time around, however, a U.S.-led strike against Syria likely would be wider in scope and would aim not only to deter Syria, but also to impair the Syrian government's ability to carry out chemical weapons attacks. But even with a coalition, and even with a bigger operational scope, the same factors that constrained the United States in April 2017 would also constrain a military operation this time....
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