The United States is warning that Syria would "pay a heavy price" for undertaking another chemical weapons attack, the White House said Monday night, saying it's spotted "potential preparations" for one, NBC News reported.
Activity at an airfield struck in the American cruise missile attack in April is "strongly suggestive" of the Assad regime intending to use chemical weapons, with the activity becoming more compelling in the last day, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.
Five U.S. defense, military and intelligence officials told NBC News the statement caught them off guard.
A Syrian minister dismissed the statement, insisting Damascus does not have and will not use chemical weapons. Russian officials responded to the statements Tuesday, accusing the U.S. of "readying a new attack on Syrian forces" and preparing an "unprecedented provocation... presented as a chemical attack" to prompt a U.S.-led strike on Assad's forces.