Science

Syria denies US allegations of coming chemical attack

Syria denies US allegations of coming chemical attack

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were reportedly present at Shayrat before April's sarin gas attack, raising questions about Iran's involvement in Syria chemical weapons program.

MARGARET WARNER: A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin retorted: "Such threats to Syria's legitimate leaders are unacceptable".

The US accusation and ominous warning marked a further escalation of tensions in a country where the US is using Syrian Arab and Kurdish proxy soldiers to combat the Islamic State group in its remaining strongholds, even as Russian Federation and Iran work to support President Bashar Assad, who has gained the upper hand in a long civil war.

Syrian activists say an airstrike targeting an Islamic State-run jail in eastern Syria has killed at least 42 prisoners.

United States officials have seen chemical weapons activity at a Syrian air base that was used in the spring nerve gas attack on rebel-held territory, the Defense Department said Tuesday, scrambling to explain what prompted a White House statement a day earlier that Syria would "pay a heavy price" if it carried out another one.

Russia, Assad's main worldwide backer, has denounced the warning and dismissed White House assertions that a strike was being prepared as "unacceptable", raising the tension between Washington and Moscow over the Syrian civil war. The horrific attack prompted a US missile strike on a military base.

He said the activities were similar to preparations taken before the attack in April, but provided no evidence or further explanation.




Gatilov warned the United States not to take unilateral actions in Syria.

US forces have increased their presence in Syria to about 1,000 in recent months as the Pentagon steps up its campaign against IS, which is being targeted by USA -backed rebel forces in its stronghold of Raqqa. In response, Russian Federation has threatened to target coalition aircraft in certain parts of Syria. Nevertheless, the White House showed it wouldn't turn a blind eye.

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 USA officials told NBC News. Mr. Peskov criticised the Trump administration for using the phrase "another chemical weapons attack", arguing that an independent investigation into the April attack was never conducted despite Russia's calls for one.

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. Typically, the State Department, the Pentagon and USA intelligence agencies would all be consulted before the White House issued a declaration sure to ricochet across foreign capitals. "This involved specific aircraft in a specific hangar, both of which we know to be associated with chemical weapons use".

The latest accusation, Preston said, "is consistent with the ongoing geopolitical strategy that the United States has been pursuing in the region".

Mattis also acknowledged that the US would continue to supply Kurdish forces in the north with weapons despite objections by USA ally Turkey.


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