US President Donald Trump is considering the possibility of attacking positions of Russian and Iranian forces in Syria in the event of an attack by the Syrian army, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous public officials.
The newspaper sources reported that Syrian President Bashar Assad “approved the use of chlorine during the attack on the last major militant stronghold in the country” in Idlib province. Such an operation, for its part, could provoke an attack by American forces, the edition adds.
“The Pentagon is developing military scenarios, but Mr Trump has not yet decided what might be considered a pretext for military response and whether the US will attack Iranian or Russian forces that support Bashar Assad in Syria,” the paper quoted anonymous sources as saying.
Authorities have not confirmed whether Washington will even use air strikes to Syria if there is a chemical weapons attack there.
“We do not say that the US will use military force in response to such an attack,” said one of the White House officials for The Wall Street Journal .
In recent weeks, the Russian Defense Ministry has warned repeatedly about provocations with the use of chemical weapons to be prepared by terrorists giving a pretext for the United States, France and the United Kingdom to attack Syria. The three countries have already launched air strikes on Syrian government facilities in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons.
Terrorists have found ways to produce weapons in Syria itself, but they also receive technical and financial help from abroad, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Oleg Syromolotov, said.
According to the diplomat, during the years of military action in neighboring Syria and Iraq, the terrorists reportedly had captured documentation on the production of chemical weapons and chemical factories with special equipment, and also recruited civilian and military chemists for produce such weapons.
At the same time, Syromolotov stressed, “some material and technical help has come from abroad.”