U.S. officials believe forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad may be in the process of working on new, more refined chemical weapons, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.
Trump administration officials told the AP under the condition of anonymity that recent alleged attacks suggest Syria may be making new kinds of chemical weapons to possibly improve their military capability or evade international detection.
Officials also said it’s “highly likely” that Syria kept a stockpile of weapons after a 2013 deal to destroy the chemical program, the news agency reported.
Additionally, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to use chemical weapons such as sulfur mustard and chlorine, using shells or improvised explosive devices to deliver them, the officials said.
President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE, in April, launched a missile strike on a Syrian airfield in response to a chemical attack Assad unleashed on his own citizens, including children, killing at least 80.
The U.S. also imposed new sanctions on Syria in response to the attack.
Officials told Reuters on Thursday that the administration was prepared to again take military action in order to deter such an attack.