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US Intel Confirms Syria Committed Chemical Weapons Attack in May

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, D.C., March 15, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to disclose on Thursday an assessment by U.S. intelligence that the Syrian military used chemical weapons in a May 2019 attack on opposition forces.

This would be the first confirmed chemical weapons attack by Syria since April 2018, when the government used chemical weapons in the city of Douma. The U.S., France and Britain responded to the attack with coordinated missile strikes.

The Syrian opposition recorded the latest attack in May 19 near the village of Kabana, Latakia province, in which four people were wounded in a chlorine rocket strike.

American intelligence took several months to confirm the report.

Pompeo is expected to announce the findings in an effort to deter the Bashar Assad regime from committing further chemical strikes.

In 2017, the Trump administration authorized a series of missile strikes on a Syrian government air base after it was discovered the Assad regime used it to mount a sarin gas attack on another village.

After it was concluded that the Assad regime used chemical agents in May of this year, the trump administration provided $4.5 million to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which investigates chemical weapons usage throughout the world.

In 2013, Assad’s forces executed a sarin attack near the capital Damascus, killing roughly 1,400 people. Prior to the attack, President Obama committed to attacking Syria should chemical weapons use be discovered, but he ultimately decided to forego a retaliatory strike, and instead allowed Russian officials to enter Syria and destroy any chemical munitions in Syria’s possession.

However, not all of Syria’s chemical weapons were destroyed, and the Assad regime began using chlorine in place of sarin.

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