The White House said that there are “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack” by the Syrian regime and warned the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, of a “heavy price” if one is carried out.
“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,” according to a White House statement released Monday night.
The statement said, “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.”
After an April 4 airstrike on a rebel-held town in Idlib province, horrifying images and videos emerged showing Syria’s civilians — including children — struggling to breathe, foam coming from their mouths as they appeared to die of asphyxiation.
Three days later, the US launched a military strike in response to the chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people. US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase that was home to theHa warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks, officials said.
President Donald Trump ordered the strikes and stated then: “It is in this vital national security of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
The strike was the first direct military action taken by the United States against the regime of al-Assad in the country’s six-year civil war.
Immediately after the White House issued its warning to the Assad regime on Monday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tweeted: “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.”
Russia and Iran are both staunch backers of the Assad regime.