Chemical weapons

U.S. issues warning as signs point to Syria's use of chemical weapons

A woman standing in the rubbles following an attack in Idlib, Syria
Idlib province, Syria, May 20, 2019. Photo: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department reportedly uncovered evidence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has continued to use chemical weapons against civilians, per a press release, issuing a warning that the U.S. and its allies would respond "quickly and appropriately" if the violence was verified.

"The United States reiterates its warning, first issued by President Trump in September 2018, that an attack against the Idlib de-escalation zone would be a reckless escalation that threatens to destabilize the region."
— U.S. State Department

Report: Assad regime has launched more than 300 chemical attacks

Damaged buildings in the Khan Shaykhun district of Idlib, Syria, which was hit by a chemical attack. Photo: Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and its military forces have launched more than 300 chemical attacks since the end of 2012 during the country's ongoing civil war, according to a new report from the Global Public Policy Institute, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: President Trump's decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria has sparked concern that it could allow for renewed aggression from both Assad's government forces and a depleted Islamic State, or ISIS. White House national security adviser John Bolton said last month that the decision to withdraw should not be viewed as a "change in our position that any use of chemical weapons would be met by a very strong response."

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