US says Syria appears to be planning another chemical weapons attack
The US said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would pay 'a heavy price' should the attack be carried out. Photograph: (Reuters)
The White House said Monday that Syria appears to be planning another chemical weapons attack.
It also warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he would pay "a heavy price" if it carried out such an attack.
Reuters reported that a statement from the White House 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.
After the chemical attack, Trump had ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat air base in Syria from where he said the attack had been launched.
At the time, US officials had described the strike as a "one-off".
Trump's interventions in Syria however up the risk of armed conflict with Russia and Iran, Assad's two main backers.
Since the April strike, the US has hit Iranian-backed militia in Syria a number of times and also shot down a drone threatening US-led coalition forces.
Earlier this month, it also shot down a Syrian jet.