Friday, 24 November, 2017

Pentagon: 'Active preparations' by Syria for chemical attack

Sammy Stanley | 29 June, 2017, 09:07

The Pentagon gave more details Tuesday about its warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying the USA had spotted activity in Syria at an aircraft shelter at Shayrat airfield known to be associated with chemical weapons, as CBS News' David Martin has reported.

White House officials say there were consultations, but key officials who help make Middle East policy at the Pentagon and the State Department had no idea the statement was coming, multiple US officials told NBC News.

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 US return to the Middle East's battlefield. It's always easier, they say, just to take out the airplanes.

Adrian Rankine-Galloway, said. He said Assad's "brutality" threatens the region and US interests, and any Syrian attacks with weapons of mass destruction risk prompting others to use similar weapons.

But the Pentagon identified the site of the alleged preparations as the Shayrat air base, the same location struck by dozens of us cruise missiles after the Trump administration said it was used to launch the April 4 attack. And that missile launch came after a chemical weapons attack from a Syrian aircraft at this base and that killed more than a hundred civilians, including many children.

He advised former President Barack Obama - over Twitter - to "not attack Syria" after a 2013 chemical attack and has slammed his predecessor for not observing the red line he set before the attack.

A Monday evening statement by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the USA had "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".

Cosby trial accuser thanks supporters for love, kindness
Cosby stemming from other possible victims, his defense attorney said "None of these accusations have ever been vetted". I'm not going to plea to something I did not do", Cosby said, during an exclusive interview with the NNPA Newswire.

The U.N. has ascribed responsibility to Assad's government for three previous attacks during Syria's six-year civil war.

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

The US has "a very active deconfliction line" with Russian Federation in order to not "get drawn into a fight" in Syria, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said.

The US-led coalition and allied fighters are battling to oust the IS group from its Syrian bastion Raqa.

A Defense Department official told CNN the statement was coordinated between the highest levels of the White House, State and Pentagon, even though some may have been caught off guard. And we have no sense at this point whether there's a possibility of another round of Tomahawk missile strikes or even whether this White House warning had any effect.

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

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