Questions over timing and intelligence behind late-night Trump statement warning Syrian leader following April’s sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun

The White House has declared that it believes Bashar al-Assad’s regime is preparing to carry out another chemical weapons attack, and warned that the Syrian leader and his military would “pay a heavy price” if it went ahead.

The unusual public warning on Monday night appeared to be intended to deter the regime from repeating its use of chemical weapons against rebel-held cities and towns. It may also have been aimed at the regime’s backers in Moscow and Tehran, who have resolutely backed Assad and denied the regime’s responsibility for chemical weapons use.

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