Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

US says its warning appears to have averted Syrian chemical attack

US says its warning appears to have averted Syrian chemical attack

U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Britain would back another US cruise missile strike against Syrian targets if warranted.

The accusation from President Donald Trump's administration that Syrian forces are planning another chemical weapons attack on rebels is also a warning to Russian Federation and Iran that they are "on notice" if such an attack takes place, the USA ambassador to the United Nations said Tuesday.

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main worldwide backer, denounced the warning and dismissed White House assertions that a strike was being prepared as "unacceptable", raising the tension between Washington and Moscow over the Syrian civil war.

"We have observed activities at Shayrat air base that suggest possible intent by the Syrian regime to use chemical weapons again", said a Pentagon spokesman, Marine Maj.

Mattis wouldn't say what specifically triggered USA concerns that an attack might be imminent.

Trump's approach has been created to "dissuade" Syria from using chemical weapons, Mattis added.

The White House has issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad, claiming "potential" evidence that Syria was preparing for another chemical weapons attack.

"Undoubtedly, the unwise and adventurist behaviors of the United States in Syria is a clear instance of playing with fire...", he noted, warning about negative consequences of the U.S. unilateral move in violation of the principles of the global laws and Syria's national sovereignty.

In April, Trump ordered nearly 60 cruise missiles to be fired at the Shayrat base after accusing Syria of killing dozens of civilians in a sarin gas attack.

THE United States will continue arming Syrian Kurdish separatists after the defeat of Isis, Defence Secretary James Mattis said yesterday.

Nikki Haley says the goal was not to just send Assad a message.

The U.S. cruise missile strike in April was the first intentional U.S. assault on Assad's government or military.

"I can tell you that due to the President's actions, we did not see an incident", Haley said at a House foreign affairs committee hearing.

Ankara was angered by a US decision in June to arm the YPG in the battle for Islamic State's stronghold of Raqqa.

Syria denied using chemical weapons.

Less than an hour after Spicer issued the statement, Trump was back to tweeting about the 2016 campaign, denouncing investigations into potential collusion between Moscow and his campaign aides as a "Witch Hunt!"

Gorka also dismissed new video of Assad, accompanied by Russian military commanders, getting into the cockpit of a Russian warplane after the Trump administration's warning as nothing more than "cheap theater" and a "desperate measure", adding that "it does not worry this White House".

America s warning to Damascus drew condemnation both from the Kremlin, which said it considered "such threats against the Syrian leadership to be unacceptable", and from Tehran.

The State Department officials weren't authorized to discuss national security planning publicly and requested anonymity.

Chemical weapons have killed hundreds of people since the start of Syria's 6-year-old civil war.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders flatly denied the White House was freelancing on foreign policy.

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