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Matisse: We warned Al-Assad against using chemical weapons

BAGHDAD, The United States has warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons when it hit the base of Al-Sheirat in 2017, US Defense Secretary James Matisse said.

"We are following closely what is the Assad regime is preparing supported and instigated by the Iranians and the Russians," Matisse said in a press statement on Tuesday night at Pentagon headquarters.

"He has been warned, and we will see if he took the lesson."

Matisse explained that this warning was directed by the American strike on the base Al-Sheirat in the province of Homs in April of 2017, claiming that the attack resulted in the destruction of 17% of the warplanes.

At the same time, the US Defense Secretary declined to confirm whether the United States intended to respond militarily to the use of chemical weapons independently. "I do not intend to identify this," he said.

The US president earlier warned Syria, Russia and Iran of what he described as the "grave human error" of launching a large-scale attack on militants in Idlib, saying his country would be very angry if a massacre took place in the region.

The White House pledged that the United States would respond quickly and appropriately if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons during the Idlib military operation.

The current US threats come at a time when the Russian Defense Ministry has warned since late August that the militants in the province of Idlib are working in cooperation with elements of the "White Helmets" and the British intelligence, to prepare a chemical provocation to accuse the authorities in Damascus to launch an attack with toxic substances , pointing out that this incident will be used to exploit the pretext of a new US-British-French strike on Syria.

Source: National Iraqi News Agency

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