The Syrian government seems to be preparing for another chemical attack recently. The White House revealed late Monday that US Intelligence has detected evidence of preparations, similar to those that occurred before the April 4 incident that killed dozens of civilians and provoked President Donald Trump to order a missile strike on a Syrian air base.
“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 announced the news in a statement. “The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017, chemical weapons attack.”
While the US’ interference in Syria is to eliminate ISIS, Spicer warns that if President Bashar Assad conducts another “mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”
White House officials declined to provide specifics and Spicer did not elaborate beyond the statement.
According to Buzzfeed, all five US defense officials they reached have no idea where the potential attack would come from. The statement reportedly caught them off guard, as such statements are usually “coordinated across the national security agencies and departments before they are released.”
The publication also tried to get a statement from the Pentagon and the State Department to no avail.
Syria Chemical Attack 2017
Trump greenlit a strike on the Shayrat airfield in Syria back in April in response to what Washington claimed was a poison gas attack by Assad’s government that killed at least 70 people in the rebel-held territory.
“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,” Trump said after the attack. “That crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines.”
Syria denied it’s responsible for the incident.
The strike put Washington in a confrontation with Russia, which has advisers in the war-torn country aiding its close ally Assad. US officials it wasn’t an expansion of the West’s role in the six-year-long civil war, but a “one-off” intervention intended to discourage any future chemical weapons attack.
The Trump administration has since taken a series of actions over the last couple of months proving its willingness to carry out strikes, mostly in self-defense, against Syrian government forces and their backers, including Iran.
According to Washington Post, the Pentagon currently has several ships deployed nearby, including the George H.W. Bush Strike Group, all anchored by the aircraft carrier of the same name. There are dozens of fighter jets and several smaller vessels as well, including the guided-missile destroyers USS Laboon and USS Truxtun and the guided-missile cruisers USS Philippine Sea and USS Hue City.
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