Syria preparing for another chemical attack, White House says

A civil defence member breathes through an oxygen mask after the gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April. Photograph: Ammar Abdullah/Reuters

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

The White House statement said preparations by Syria were similar to those undertaken before a 4 April chemical attack in Khan Sheikhun that killed dozens of civilians and prompted the US president, Donald Trump, to order a cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase.

“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,” spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement.

“The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.

“As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”

“If, however, Mr Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

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