Syrian American Medical Society says patients suffering exposure to chemical compounds treated in Eastern Ghouta
 
Sixteen patients including six children were treated in a SAMS-supported hospital in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, "suffering from symptoms indicative to exposure to chemical compounds" according to a tweet from the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) late Sunday.
 
The Syrian opposition-run Rural Damascus Health Directorate (RDHD) on Monday said several people were admitted to medical facilities in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday showing signs that, "are consistent with exposure to toxic chlorine gas", according to a statement. The RDHD statement describes patients "having symptoms including dyspnea, intensive irritation of the mucus membranes, irritation of the eyes, and dizziness" and added, "the smell of people in the area, ambulance drivers, and victims all had the clear and known smell of chlorine gas."
 
CNN is unable to independently verify claims chlorine was used as a weapon in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday. Both sides of the Syrian conflict have in the past accused one another of the use of chlorine as a weapon. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied claims that it has used chlorine as a weapon on civilians.
Obtained by CNN
Syrian American Medical Society says patients suffering exposure to chemical compounds treated in Eastern Ghouta Sixteen patients including six children were treated in a SAMS-supported hospital in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, "suffering from symptoms indicative to exposure to chemical compounds" according to a tweet from the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) late Sunday. The Syrian opposition-run Rural Damascus Health Directorate (RDHD) on Monday said several people were admitted to medical facilities in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday showing signs that, "are consistent with exposure to toxic chlorine gas", according to a statement. The RDHD statement describes patients "having symptoms including dyspnea, intensive irritation of the mucus membranes, irritation of the eyes, and dizziness" and added, "the smell of people in the area, ambulance drivers, and victims all had the clear and known smell of chlorine gas." CNN is unable to independently verify claims chlorine was used as a weapon in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday. Both sides of the Syrian conflict have in the past accused one another of the use of chlorine as a weapon. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied claims that it has used chlorine as a weapon on civilians.
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(CNN) —  

House Speaker Paul Ryan downplayed the need for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force for a military strike on Syria, repeating his longstanding position that he thinks President Donald Trump “has the authority under the existing AUMF” from 2001.

“Well, he has the authority under the existing AUMF,” Ryan said Thursday, adding later, “With respect to the authorities, the existing AUMF … gives him the authority to do what he needs to do, what he may or may not do.”

Ryan also expressed hesitation about moving on a new authorization, warning against circumscribing the military’s ability to act quickly against new threats.

“What I would hate to do, in this time when we have asymmetrical threats all across the world, particularly with ISIS, is to have an AUMF that short – that ties the hands of our military behind their backs. So the last thing I want to see is an AUMF that makes it much more difficult for our military to respond to keep us safe. Because they have the authority to do that now,” Ryan said.

Regarding potential action in Syria specifically, Ryan also said he thought it was “important for us to help lead the international community to make sure that people are held accountable for these mass atrocities.”

“As to Syria itself, Bashar Assad and his enablers in Tehran and Moscow have committed another mass atrocity on people in Syria,” Ryan said. “I think the US has an obligation to lead an international response to hold him accountable for that. I won’t get ahead of the President, he is taking a very deliberate and careful response and approach to this.”

Ryan received criticism from Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, who slammed Ryan’s comments, writing on Twitter: “Constitution: Ryan is wrong again”

And Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox News this morning said that on the need there should be a new AUMF for Syria, there should be a debate in Congress.

“We’re going to ask to a great degree you have to have a debate in Congress,” he said. “That’s what the Constitution clearly spells out. Let’s have the debate. We have been functioning under one in Afghanistan for 17 years. I also understand what (Bashar al-Assad) did. This is as evil and as wrong as it gets and deserves some kind of response.”

Trump on Thursday softened his rhetoric about potential airstrikes on Syria, a day after warning Russia that missiles “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart.’”

In an early morning tweet and later in comments at the White House, Trump attempted to cloud the timing of military action – a day after indicating it was imminent – and said a final decision had not yet been made.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler and DJ Judd contributed to this report.