USA ready to hit Syrian chemical weapons

White Helmet civil defence worker breathes oxygen after suspected chlorine attack in Douma

And they said the Trump administration wouldn't rule out another military strike against President Bashar al-Assad's military if he doesn't stop the attacks.

The Syrian government has said it has not carried out any of the attacks.

Assad's chemical weapons could spread to "US shores" the official said, should the worldwide community not respond quickly to limit Assad, warning that "it will spread if we don't do something".

They emphasized that the United States was seeking a new way to hold users of chemical weapons accountable and wanted cooperation from Russia, Assad's patron, in pressuring him to end the attacks. UN Security Council resolutions and the Chemical Weapons Convention ban such weapons.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Russian Federation bears responsibility for the attacks for failing to enforce the weapons ban.

Damascus has denied using any chemical weapons in the seven-year conflict, blaming the rebels on using it on themselves.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a stern warning on Friday to Syria, urging the regime to abstain from using chemical weapons.

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Barrel bombs used earlier in the war to disperse chemicals indiscriminately, for example, have been replaced by ground-launched munitions, officials said.

He said the U.S.is "even more concerned" about the possible use of the nerve agent sarin.

The officials briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

A war monitor said at least 20 civilians were killed in Syrian government air strikes on rebel-held territory in the country's north on Thursday and three children were killed in artillery strikes on Eastern Ghouta.

Yet Syria's government isn't the only chemical weapons threat in the region, according to the officials.

The US officials also said Islamic State militants have sporadically used chemical weapons, such as sulfur mustard and chlorine, some via improvised explosive devices. That led the USA and other nations to accuse Moscow of covering for chemical use by Assad's forces.

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