TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed in a Monday statement that the US had “identified potential preparations” for an attack “that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”
Spicer said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian military would “pay a heavy price” if they went ahead with the alleged plan.
A familiar manner of ratcheting up tensions
The Associated Press, meanwhile, cited anonymous US State Department officials who would “typically” be consulted before such statements are made as saying that they had been caught “completely off guard” by Spicer’s statement and that they had come to know about it only after it was released.
The AP report also said that the content of Spicer’s statement “didn’t appear to be discussed in advance with other national security agencies.”
On April 4, over 80 people died in an incident involving chemicals in the town of Khan Shaykhun in the western Idlib Province of Syria. Western countries blamed the Syrian government for what they said was a chemical attack, and days later, the US used it as a pretext to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield in the central province of Homs. US officials claimed that the alleged Khan Shaykhun gas attack had been launched from that airfield.