Mattis says Syria's government taking US threat seriously


Assad has strongly denied the allegation that his forces used chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun, describing it as a "100 percent fabrication".

In a statement from the office of press secretary Sean Spicer late on Monday, the U.S. said it has identified "potential preparations" by the Syrian regime for the use of chemical weapons that appear similar to an April 4 attack on a rebel- held town.

"They didn't [launch a chemical attack]".

Syria has denied the Trump administration's charge that it may be planning "another chemical weapons attack", which the White House said "will likely result in the mass murder of civilians".

Late on Monday, the White House warned that Assad would pay a "heavy price" for another attack. In April, Trump ordered nearly 60 cruise missiles to be fired at the Shayrat base after accusing Syria of killing dozens of civilians in a sarin gas attack.

It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Mr Trump's most dramatic military order since becoming president months before.

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In April, President Trump ordered the strike against the base in response to what Washington claimed was a gas attack carried out by Assad's forces.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said the White House warning aims at reaching other pro-Al-Assad countries as Russian Federation and Iran.

In response, president Donald Trump ordered the United States military to fire about 60 cruise missiles at the air base.

The US attack on the Syrian air base came after years of heated debate and deliberation in Washington over intervention in the bloody civil war.

Captain Davis said the activity had been recorded over the "past day or two" but did not offer further details on how the intelligence had been gathered.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis claimed Wednesday that the Syrian government backed down after the White House said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces were preparing for another possible chemical attack.

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"I am not aware of any information about a threat that chemical weapons can be used", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.

Officials in Russian Federation, which has provided military and political support to President Bashar Assad during the Syrian conflict, also rejected the accusations.

Regional analyst Anthony Billingsley of the University of New South Wales told VOA he fears another retaliatory strike could be "a much more serious danger".

Iran's foreign minister said: "Another risky US escalation in Syria on fake pretext will only serve ISIS", the Islamic State group.

Shamkhani further stressed that the military scene in Syria would soon make a change in the continuation of U.S. one-sided aggression in the warn-torn country and its escape from consequences of its measures. "But if he does he now knows that the cost of using them are going to be exceeded by the punishment that's brought to bear on him and that could include I think strikes against not just regime assets but against leadership assets too".

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