White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer released a statement on Monday to media outlets which accused the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad of plotting a chemical weapons attack against civilians.
The statement said the following:
“The United States has 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. The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.
As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”
The United States previously launched naval strikes against a Syrian air base in April in response to a chemical weapons attack in eastern Syria, which the United States alleged had been conducted by the Assad regime, destroying dozens of military aircraft. It remains to be seen whether the United States will follow through with the threat made at the end of this statement, but it does make clear that the previous strike was not merely a one-off.
Conclusive evidence of regime involvement in the April chemical attack has not been found, with both Syria and Russia denying the allegations made. The purported chemical attack was conducted against a stronghold held by Tahrir al-Sham, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and the successor group to the infamous al-Nusra Front.
Additionally, the United States has conducted smaller-scale airstrikes in western Syria against militias aligned with the regime that were said to be advancing on U.S. troops. U.S. fighter jets have also shot down Iranian drones and a Syrian plane accused of bombing the U.S.-aligned Syrian Democratic Forces.
Many of Trump’s most vocal supporters, including Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Mike Cernovich, Michael Savage, and Milo Yiannopoulos, have been deeply critical of U.S. aggression towards the Syrian regime, seeing it as a diversion from Trump’s ‘America First’ campaign agenda.