Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Russia - US chemical attack assertions complicate Syria peace talks: RIA

Melinda Barton | 29 June, 2017, 09:07

The Trump administration said Tuesday it has detected "active preparations" by Syria for a chemical attack and threatened to retaliate - warning of action that could plunge America deeper into a civil war alongside the fight against Islamic State militants. A senior Russian lawmaker accused the USA of a "provocation".

Trump's approach has been created to "dissuade" Syria from using chemical weapons, Mattis added.

Earlier this week, a statement by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the USA had "identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack" by the Syrian government, noting that it would "pay a heavy price" if such an assault took place.

The Kremlin was not happy with the White House statement.

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.

Washington launched a retaliatory cruise missile strike days later against a Syrian airbase from where it said the chemical attack was launched, the first direct U.S. action against the Syrian regime.

BOWMAN: Well, I'm told surveillance showed the hallmarks of chemical weapons activity at this Syrian air base.

Trump, despite authorizing strikes earlier this year, has been inconsistent on Syria.

August 24, 2016: The joint OPCW-U.N. panel determines the Syrian government twice used helicopters to deploy chlorine gas against its opponents in civilian areas in the northern Idlib province. The U.S. and its Arab and Western allies, and Syrian opposition groups, accuse Assad's forces of many more instances of using sarin and chlorine against civilians.

"We are not interested in going to war with Russian Federation", he said.

On June 18, US-led coalition forces downed a Syrian Su-22 warplane over Raqqa Governorate. The coalition couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Many of them knew about the intelligence suggesting possible preparations for a chemical attack, but they weren't aware the White House was going to issue a public threat of military action - a major step.

"The goal is at this point not just to send Assad a message, but to send Russian Federation and Iran a message", Haley told a House panel.

"We're right on the threshold" of losing on health care, a White House official told CNN on Monday night, shortly after the White House's statement on Syria.

The State Department officials weren't authorized to discuss national security planning publicly and requested anonymity.

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