Russian Federation called the threats unacceptable and groundless, recalling that Washington has not provided any hard evidence regarding the April attack in Idlib which provoked the April 7 attack on the airbase, and for which the U.S. still blames Assad.
Any military action against Syria under the allegations of “potential” chemical weapon use by the Syrian government would only help the terrorists, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying.
Syrian rebels say they do not rule out the possibility of another chemical weapons attack by President Bashar Assad’s government even after punitive USA missile strikes after the attack in April.
The Pentagon gave more details Tuesday about its warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying the US 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.
Assad, backed by his ally Russian Federation, has strongly denied the allegation that his forces used chemical weapons against the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun, describing it as a “100 percent fabrication”.
“The statements on Syrian armed forces getting ready to use chemical weapons is complete nonsense…”
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 15 militants were also killed in the airstrike that happened on Monday in the Deir El-Zour province. The warning came after USA intelligence noticed suspect activity at the airbase used to launch a suspected chemical strike two months ago. Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of the United States war against ISIS, also made calls to mitigate the threat of a Syrian chemicals weapons attack, in a call with Russian officials, a senior defense official told BuzzFeed News. Nevertheless, the White House showed it wouldn’t turn a blind eye. But many officials said they knew nothing about the Monday night statement or the evidence that led to it. Peskov said he is unaware of the basis for the White House assertion that Syria was planning another chemical attack and that it is incorrect to blame the Syrian government for previous attacks without an investigation. Typically, the State Department, Pentagon and USA intelligence agencies would all be consulted before a White House declaration sure to ricochet across foreign capitals. Many weeks after President Trump’s decision to launch a Tomahawk strike against Assad’s forces, the logic of President Trump’s decision still seems overwhelmingly transparent: use chemical weapons, and we’ll hit you with cruise missiles-nothing more, nothing less.
Several State Department officials typically involved in coordinating such announcements said they were caught completely off guard by the warning, which didn’t appear to have been discussed in advance with other national security agencies. The revelation led to angry denunciations from opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad that the US had not warned them of the coming assault.
Since the United States sent a small detachment of troops into Syria in 2015, it has only become more embroiled in the six-year-old conflict.