Assad has strongly denied using chemical weapons. FILEâÂÂPIC
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be preparing a chemical weapons attack that would result in the "mass murder" of civilians, the White House said, warning the regime would pay a "heavy price" if it goes ahead. Washington launched a strike against a Syrian airbase in response.
"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," spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement. "The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack. If, however, Mr Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price," Spicer added.
Assad, backed by his ally Russia, 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". He has said repeatedly that his forces turned over all chemical weapons stockpiles in 2013.
Air strike kills 42
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that 42 people were killed in an air strike on Monday believed to have been carried out by the US-led coalition on an Islamic State prison.
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