Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Syria denies Washington allegations of coming chemical attack

Frank Williams | 28 June, 2017, 17:45

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

But a spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said: 'Such threats to Syria's legitimate leaders are unacceptable.' Moscow sided with Mr Assad when he denied responsibility for the attack in Idlib province on April 4.

The U.S. has demonstrated its willingness to carry out strikes against the Syrian regime and its allied forces, including Iran, over the past three months.

President Bashar Assad's government and Russian Federation dismissed the White House allegation that Damascus was preparing a new chemical weapons attack.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday the United States intelligence services had detected increased activity at Shayrat airfield in the central province of Homs, the same base targeted by a massive USA cruise missile strike early in April.

The White House statement Monday did not lay out precise details of what shape a "heavy price" for Assad would take after another alleged chemical attack.

On Tuesday, deputy White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "all relevant agencies. were involved in the process from the beginning".

The White House statement on Monday night was made without forewarning and caught State Department officials by surprise.

In the days following the missile strike, Defense Secretary James Mattis cautioned that the U.S. was prepared to take further action if Syria launched another gas attack.

The United States has shot down several Iranian drones, bombed Iranian-backed militia allied with Syria, and shot down a Syrian jet that the Pentagon said was preparing to bomb US -backed rebel troops.

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Defence Minister Fikri Isik said the Pentagon chief had promised to take back the heavy arms and vehicles the U.S. had provided to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) once the Isis stronghold of Raqqa is captured. In response, Russian Federation has threatened to target coalition aircraft in certain parts of Syria.

The US has fired dozens of cruise missiles at Syria in revenge for a chemical weapons attack - despite a warning from Russian Federation not to get involved.

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.

The White House offered no details on what prompted the warning.

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. They said there was "no big change" in the visa process when they applied at the U.S. Consulate in Armenia.

"The continued brutality of the Assad regime and his use of chemical weapons presents a clear threat to regional stability and security, as well as the national security interests of the United States and our allies", Rankine-Galloway added.

Speaking before the House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, Haley told lawmakers, "The goal is at this point not just to send Assad a message, but to send Russian Federation and Iran a message".

In addition to the White House threat, a series of incidents in recent weeks - including the downing of a Syrian government jet and two Iranian-made drones by USA aircraft - appear to suggest the opposite of Mattis' claims.

A prominent Iranian lawmaker has denounced the Supreme Court's partial reinstatement of President Donald Trump's travel ban, claiming that it's an "obvious breach" of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, including the United States.

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