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White House warns Syria's Assad against chemical attack

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A USA official says no strike order has been issued, but the ships are planning, in case they get an order to act.

The US president said Assad will pay a "heavy price" if he goes ahead to "conduct another mass murder". Obama instead opted for a Russian-brokered deal with the Assad regime in which Assad would give up his chemical weapons arsenal. The United States' main priority is still ISIS, and despite the recent incidents with Syria, there's no reason to think that priority has changed.

A statement from the office of the press secretary said the purported attack could cause the "mass murder of civilians", warning President Bashar al Assad that his regime would have to pay a "heavy price". But the most likely scenario is probably a strike using naval assets, which can be launched with fewer diplomatic issues than using bases in allied countries such as Turkey or the United Arab Emirates. "We consider it unacceptable".

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov criticized the USA for threatening that the Assad regime would "pay a heavy price" if it carried out an attack and declared "such threats to Syria's legitimate leaders are unacceptable". After the 2013 attack, Obama declined to strike the Syrian government, despite having declared the use of chemical weapons a "red line".

Two events in the past month - the shooting down by a USA plane of a Syrian Su-22 and the use of ballistic missiles by Iran against ISIS targets - are evidence of a scramble in eastern Syria that's been gathering pace since the beginning of the year.

A Sukhoi-22 fighter jet of the Syrian air force flies above the rebel-held parts of the Jobar district.

But US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis previously warned that there was "no doubt" that Syria had in fact retained some chemical weapons.

Assad's regime had in April reportedly attacked civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, Syria.

The American leader reasoned out that the chemical weapons attack on innocent people made his order inevitable.

President Donald Trump has said he won't stand for Syria's use of chemical weapons.

It marked the first time the USA has attacked Syrian forces in the six-year civil war.

British Defense Minister Michael Fallon said London would support USA action to prevent a chemical weapons attack but that it had not seen the intelligence on which Washington based Monday's statement. Syria denied the charge.

Russian Federation has slammed as "unacceptable" the U.S. threats against the legitimate leadership in Syria following a recent White House statement alleging that this leadership is planning a chemical attack.

Iran is the key political and military backer of Assad alongside Russian Federation, which has also criticised Washington's "threats".

The attack "choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children", Trump said.

"As always in war, the military action you use must be justified, it must be legal, it must proportionate, it must be necessary. In the last case (in April), it was", Fallon told the BBC.

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