Washington: The Donald Trump administration said late Monday the US suspects that Syrian forces are planning another chemical-weapons attack on rebel forces and issued a warning that president Bashar al-Assad risks paying “a heavy price" if it proceeded.

The US identified “potential preparations" for the use of chemical weapons that appear similar to the April 4 attack that prompted President Donald Trump to order a cruise-missile strike against Syrian military targets on April 6, according to a statement from the office of press secretary Sean Spicer.

“If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price," according to the statement, which adds that the US is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State militant group.

That effort has led to escalating tensions with Russia in recent weeks. After US forces shot down two pro-regime drones, and the US-backed coalition shot down a Syrian jet earlier this month, the Russian government threatened to target US planes flying over certain parts of the country. Bloomberg

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