Pentagon: 'active preparations' by Syria for chemical attack


Galloway called past use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime "a clear threat to regional stability", and said the mere presence of chemical weapons in Syria raises concerns for the us because they could fall into the hands of terrorist groups operating there.

Last night, the administration announced that the USA had detected - quote - "potential preparations" by the regime to use the banned weapons, again. But that information doesn't seem to have been immediately shared with all relevant government agencies.

Hours before the White House issued a warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad against launching another chemical assault, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave the same message to Russia, The Daily Beast has learned.

The post White House warns Syria not to prepare another chemical weapon attack appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

There's been limited and fairly predictable global response to the statement thus far.

Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday the activity at the Shayrat air base indicates "active preparations for chemical weapons use". The Monday evening statement caught many administration officials by surprise.

In response to the April attack, the USA struck the Syrian airfield with 59 cruise missiles, the first time the US military directly targeted the Assad regime.

The situation at Shayrat airfield has not changed.

He said Moscow was unaware of the basis for the White House assertion that Syria was planning another chemical attack, adding it was incorrect to blame the Syrian government for previous attacks without an investigation. Over the weekend, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh called into question numerous details of the incident. Russian Federation has supported the Syrian regime since 2015 with air strikes against what it says are Islamist extremists. Assad dismissed allegations of the chemical attack as "100% fabrication".

The chemical threat and sudden White House warning illustrate the challenging complexities of the fighting in Syria, a country whose territory was used by IS to march into Iraq in 2014 and prompt a USA return to the Middle East's battlefield. I don't see a healthy Syria with Assad in place. It has twice downed Iranian drones.

The U.S. attack on a Syrian air base came after years of heated debate and deliberation in Washington over intervention in the bloody civil war.

"While the American government has always been claiming to be fighting ISIS (Daesh) in Syria, that is not certainly the case at all", he noted. It was the second nerve gas attack the US has attributed to the Syrian government since 2013.

These incidents have raised concerns that the heading toward some kind of confrontation with the Assad regime in southern and eastern Syria.

Peskov criticized the Trump administration for using the phrase "another chemical weapons attack", arguing that an independent investigation into the April attack was never conducted despite Russia's calls for one.

An official with US Central Command, which oversees combat operations in the Middle East, said Monday night that he had "no idea" to what the White House statement was referring.

"We also consider any similar threats to the legitimate leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic unacceptable". But the U.S. priority has and continues to be to defeat ISIS. During that call, Lavrov reportedly asked Tillerson to prevent American "provocations" against Syrian forces.

A Pentagon spokesperson later confirmed the alleged preparations were being made at the same airfield the United States struck in April.

But another chemical attack would take the conflict to a new level.