The Pentagon is alarmed about Russian propaganda that indicates the Syrian government could be preparing to attack the rebel-held province of Idlib, a Defense Department spokesman said.
- “We remain gravely concerned over potential reports of a military offensive by the Syrian regime against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Idlib, which would result in devastating humanitarian consequences,” Eric Pahon told Task & Purpose on Monday. “We also underline our concern at the potential for further – and illegal – use of chemical weapons.”
- Russian government mouthpiece RT posted a story on Sunday claiming “foreign specialists” had arrived in Syria to stage a chemical attack that would be the pretense for the United States, France, and Britain to launch missiles at Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime from warships currently steaming towards the Mediterranean.
- U.S., British and French ships and planes launched 105 cruise missiles at Syria on April 13 in a response to an April 7 chlorine attack by the Assad regime killed at least 45 people. Afterward, Russian media launched an aggressive information campaign claiming that the chemical attack was actually a hoax.
- Pahon declined to say how the U.S. military might respond if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons against its own people again.
- “What I can tell you is that Russian reports of a U.S. military buildup in the Eastern Med are nothing more than propaganda," Pahon said. "It's not true. That does not mean, however, that we are unprepared to respond should the president direct such an action.”