White House: ‘Another chemical weapons attack’ potentially planned by Syria’s Assad
A general view shows damaged buildings in a rebel-held part of the southern city of Deraa, Syria June 22, 2017 © Alaa Faqir / Reuters
“The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement Monday night. “The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.”
“As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley followed up by tweeting: “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.”
In April, Trump ordered an airstrike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase, which was hit with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, following an alleged chemical attack in Idlib earlier that week that was blamed on the Assad government.
US lawmakers were divided immediately after the airstrikes were reported, but much of the media lauded the attack.
Within a week of the April airstrike, Spicer told reporters that the White House was “open [to] the possibility of future” strikes on Syria, if “we see this kind of action again.”