US National Security Advisor John Bolton warned the Syrian government that it should not see the impending US military withdrawal from the country as an invitation to use chemical weapons.
“There is absolutely no change in the US position against the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and absolutely no change in our position that any use of chemical weapons would be met by a very strong response, as we’ve done twice before,” Bolton told reporters on his plane shortly before landing in Tel Aviv, Israel.
“So the regime, the Assad regime should be under no illusions on that question.”
Bolton added: “As we elaborate how the withdrawal is going to occur and the circumstances, we don’t want the Assad regime to see what we do as representing any diminution in our opposition to the use of weapons of mass destruction.”
On Friday, a senior State Department official said that the United States has no timeline to withdraw troops from Syria, but does not plan to stay indefinitely, a strong signal that forces could stay until the fight against ISIS militants ends.