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Mattis says Syria's government taking US threat seriously

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"They didn't [launch a chemical attack]".

"It appears that they took the warning seriously", Mattis said.

Syria's government has taken seriously the US warning against launching another chemical weapons attack, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday.

The US recently observed the movement of an aircraft and chemical agents on a base toward possible preparation for an attack, leading the White House to issue a public warning late Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would pay a heavy price for chemical weapons use.

"I think that Assad's chemical program goes far beyond one airfield", Mattis said.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said the USA will not be drawn into Syria's civil war. The U.S. previously launched airstrikes against the airfield in April, after Mr. Assad's forces were accused of launching an attack with sarin gas.

According to a USA intelligence official who preferred to be anonymous, the warning was issued amid new reports that there was abnormal activity that might be connected with preparations for a chemical launch. The move was aimed at deterring the Syrian government from embarking on any attack that could lead to the death of civilians.

Ali Haidar, the Syrian Minister for National Reconciliation, meanwhile, dismissed the White House statement.

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Russian Federation is the main military backer of Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, in the country's multisided civil war.

"The goal is at this point not just to send Assad a message, but to send Russian Federation and Iran a message", said US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

He inspected the equipment, according to the Syrian state news agency, SANA, and wrote in the visitor's book a message of thanks to the Russian people: "Russia provided weapons and ammunition to support Syria in its war against terrorism, but more importantly it provided blood as well, which is the dearest thing a human can offer to his fellow human".

He said the US assertions complicated peace talks on Syria, according to RIA news agency.

"We've seen this in the past".

Since the United States sent a small detachment of troops into Syria in 2015, it has only become more embroiled in the six-year-old conflict.

On the Syrian battlefields, Turkish artillery bombarded and destroyed Kurdish YPG militia targets after the group's fighters opened fire on Turkish-backed forces in northern Syria.

In Geneva, the United Nations human rights chief said at least 173 civilians have been killed in air and ground operations against Islamic State in Raqqa this month.

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