The Syrian regime will face serious consequences if it launches another chemical weapons attack, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday, June 27.
Her testimony comes the day after the White House issued a statement that the United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.
“I think that’s accurate. They have seen activities that are similar to preparations of a chemical weapons attack, much like what we saw on April 4th,” Haley told the committee when asked about the statement.
“I believe that the goal is, at this point, not just to send Assad a message but to send Russia and Iran a message that, if this happens again, we are putting you on notice,” said Haley.
The White House statement said the likely result would be “mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”
The previous attack was launched on April 4 on Khan Shaykhun, a town in eastern Syria that was under the control of the Al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
The attack saw Syrian forces launch a heavy air attack as well as what was described as a chemical weapons attack that struck at civilian areas.
The Syrian regime was also accused of firing rockets filled with sarin at several rebel-held suburbs in Damascus in 2013.
Haley said the United States would not tolerate any similar attacks.
“The United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price,” she said.
The threat comes less than two weeks after a U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Su-22 fighter that was dropping munitions on U.S.-backed anti-ISIS fighters south of Tabqah, Syria.
In the morning before the hearing, Haley tweeted: “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.”
Haley told the hearing she hoped Syria and its allies heeded that threat.
“We don’t want to see innocent men women and children hurt again,” she said.