U.S. Warns: Syria's Assad Developing New Chemical Weapons, We May Take Action

If the international community doesn't increase pressure on Assad, Syria's chemical weapons could spread to the U.S., official says

Reuters
Haaretz
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Members of the civil defense remove the remnants of a rocket reportedly fired by regime forces on the outskirts of the rebel-held besieged Syrian town of Douma, February 1, 2018.
Members of the civil defense remove the remnants of a rocket reportedly fired by regime forces on the outskirts of the rebel-held besieged Syrian town of Douma, February 1, 2018.Credit: HAMZA AL-AJWEH/AFP
Reuters
Haaretz

If necessary, the Trump administration is prepared to take military action against government forces to deter the use of chemical weapons, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday. 

Washington is concerned forces loyal to Syrian President may be developing new methods to deliver such weapons, the officials added. 

Pro-regime forces occasional in smaller amounts since a that drew a on a Syrian air base, the officials told reporters in a briefing. 

>> | Analysis >>

If the international community does not act quickly to step up pressure on Assad, Syria's chemical weapons could spread beyond Syria and possibly even to the United States, one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It will spread if we don't do something," the official warned. 

Last month, an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to pave the way diplomatically for Assad's eventual departure. 

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for "patience" on the Syrian leader's departure – the clearest indication yet of an acknowledgment that Russia and Iran have bolstered Assad and that he is unlikely to leave power immediately.

Tillerson's speech came less than a week after Turkey, Russia and Iran aggressively condemned a reported plan for the U.S. to create a new force of Kurdish militants to patrol the Syria-Turkey border – a plan the Pentagon has denied.

Comments