White House: Assad may be preparing for chemical attack


The White House said on Monday it appears the Syrian government is preparing for another chemical weapons attack and it warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad he and his military would "pay a heavy price" if it conducts such an attack.

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Within a week of the April airstrike, Spicer told reporters that the White House was "open [to] the possibility of future" strikes on Syria, if "we see this kind of action again".

NEW: White House says US has "identified potential preparations" for chemical attack by the Assad regime in Syria. "The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack". Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said, "We are letting the statement speak for itself".

"It is also intriguing that as Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary raised the prospect of a potential chemical weapons attack and a U.S. response, 41 minutes later, the President was tweeting about Obama".

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The Trump administration launched missile strikes in retaliation for that attack, which it blamed on Assad.

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

Chemical weapons have killed hundreds of people since the start of the conflict, with the United Nations blaming three attacks on the Syrian government and a fourth on the Islamic State group.

The U.S. military maintains a variety of weapons in the region that could be used in the event of another strike, including manned and unmanned aircraft in several Middle Eastern countries.