The White House said on Monday it appears the Syrian government is preparing for another chemical weapons attack and it warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad he and his military would “pay a heavy price” if it conducts such an attack.
The White House statement said preparations by Syria were similar to those undertaken before an April 4 chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians and prompted President Donald Trump to order a cruise missile strike on a Syrian air base.
Trump ordered the strike on the Shayrat airfield in Syria in April in reaction to what Washington said was a poison gas attack by Assad’s government that killed at least 70 people in rebel-held territory. Syria denied it carried out the attack.
The strike was the toughest direct U.S. action yet in Syria’s six-year-old civil war, raising the risk of confrontation with Russia and Iran, Assad’s two main military backers.
U.S. officials at the time called the intervention a “one-off” intended to deter future chemical weapons attacks and not an expansion of the U.S. role in the Syrian war.
The United States has taken a series of actions over the past three months demonstrating its willingness to carry out strikes, mostly in self-defense, against Syrian government forces and their backers, including Iran.
The United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Twitter: “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.”
Nikki Haley @nikkihaley: Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.
Since the April military strike, Washington has repeatedly struck Iranian-backed militia and even shot down a drone threatening U.S.-led coalition forces. The U.S. military also shot down a Syrian jet earlier this month.
Trump has also ordered stepped-up military operations against the Islamic State militant group and delegated more authority to his generals.
Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.
Source: cnbc china
US says Syria appears to be planning another chemical weapons attack