Syria has denied the Trump administration’s charge that it may be planning “another chemical weapons attack” that the White House says “will likely result in the mass murder of civilians.”
The White House did not provide any specific evidence to support the allegation, which the government of President Bashar al-Assad has dismissed, according to The Associated Press.
Ali Haidar, the Syrian minister for national reconciliation, also rejected the White House statement, telling the AP that the charges waged against Assad’s regime pointed to “a new diplomatic campaign against Syria at the U.N.”
In a statement released late-Monday evening, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the United States had found “potential” evidence that Assad was preparing to conduct an attack similar to the one carried out April 4 that killed dozens of civilians, including children.
“The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” the statement said. “The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.”
“If … Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price,” the statement warned.
The strong wording of the White House’s statement drew reaction from Russia, a key ally and military partner of Assad’s government in Syria.
“We do not know what is the basis for this,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters today. “And, of course, we categorically disagree with the ‘another attack’ wording.
“We also consider any similar threats to the legitimate leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic unacceptable.”
The April 4 attack, which killed at least 70 people in the rebel-held territory of Idlib province, prompted President Trump to order a cruise missile strike on a Syrian…