Department of State

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
Expert Voices

U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil leave slim margin for future shocks

Mike Pompeo speaking at press conference
Secretary Mike Pompeo at a State Department press conference about the sanctions waivers on April 22. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Global oil prices plunged on Friday, erasing a week of gains after the U.S. said on Monday it would no longer issue waivers for Iranian oil imports. The administration's decision is likely to keep jostling oil markets as the waiver deadline approaches.

The big picture: The U.S. allowed 8 countries to buy Iranian crude and condensate over the past 6 months. The State Department has declined to address whether it will allow a “wind down” period for purchases beyond the May 2 deadline, after which importers would be immediately exposed to sanctions.