White House accuses Assad of preparing new chemical attack

Cheryl Sanders
June 27, 2017

Now a statement from the White House has warned President Bashar al-Assad against a chemical attack, suggesting Syria would pay "a heavy price" for doing so.

While Spicer said the USA found possible evidence of Syria readying for a new chemical attack, defense officials reportedly said they do not know what prompted the White House to issue such a statement.

In a statement, the White House said it had detected potential preparations similar to those made before a chemical attack on a rebel-held town earlier this year, which killed at least 80 people.

The Navy launched Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian military airfield April 6 in response to a previous alleged chemical weapons attack, using two guided-missile destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the USS Ross and USS Porter, to do so.

The Kremlin is dismissing the White House's warning that the Syrian government is preparing a new chemical attack and that President Bashar Assad and his military "will pay a heavy price" if it goes ahead.

"As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria", Spicer concluded.

Russian Federation is Assad's key backer and sided with him when he denied responsibility for a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people in Idlib province on April 4.

A senior Russian lawmaker dismissed the USA warning as "provocation".

He said the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against its own people was "absolutely abhorrent".

The strike was the toughest direct USA action yet in Syria's six-year-old civil war, raising the risk of confrontation with Russian Federation and Iran, Assad's two main military backers. "When you kill innocent children, innocent babies - babies, little babies - with a chemical gas that is so lethal - people were shocked to hear what gas it was - that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line", Trump had said prior to the missile strikes. U.S. warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase that was home to the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks, officials said.

The White House followed its allegation with a stern warning.

The warning is clearly meant to forestall such an attack and to make it clear that if the Syrian regime again crosses this line - just as it did last April - the U.S. will respond with force.

Syria denied using chemical weapons.

First, the national security agencies usually coordinate before releasing such a statements, but five US defense officials told BuzzFeed that the White House did not tell them it planned to comment.

Less than an hour after Spicer issued the statement, Trump was back to tweeting about the 2016 campaign, denouncing investigations into potential collusion between Moscow and his campaign aides as a "Witch Hunt!"

Other reports by iNewsToday