The Syrian government may be developing new chemical weapons, and President Trump is reportedly prepared to ramp up military efforts if necessary to prevent chemical attacks, according to senior US officials. In addition, it is also believed that Syria may be purposefully withholding existing chemical weapons that were supposed to be handed over and destroyed under a 2014 deal made by the United States and Russia.
Syrian President Bashar al-Asad may have kept part of Syria’s stockpile which may have been used in an attack last April, one that eventually forced the US to bomb a Syrian airbase. According to US officials, Assad’s forces used an “evolved” chemical weapon in their attack.
A lethal sarin attack on a rebel-held area in April forced Trump to order a missile strike in 2017 on the Shayrat air base, where the Syrian operation is said to have been launched.
The officials claim that the recent attacks exhibited characteristics of new chemical weapons and other methods of delivering poison chemicals.
“We reserve the right to use military force to prevent or deter the use of chemical weapons,” one official stated.
A second official notes that the international community will have to take action and crackdown on Assad’s chemical weapons program to prevent them from crossing Syria’s borders.
“It will spread if we don’t do something,” the second official added.
The statements follow a similar note to that of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent comments on Assad’s ally, Russia, which may have played a role in Syria’s failure to enforce the chemical weapons ban.
Moscow has denied any complicity while the Syrian government has denied it has carried out any of the attacks.
US officials also believe Syria to be responsible for a chlorine gas attack on a rebel-held enclave east of Damascus last week.
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