John Bolton issued a stern warning to Syrian officials that the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops isn’t an invitation to start using chemical weapons, Reuters reports. The comments from President Trump’s national security adviser came in the wake of Trump’s abrupt announcement that some 2000 U.S. troops, who have backed up Kurdish forces in their fight against ISIS, would leave the war-torn nation. Bolton, who is on a four-day trip to Israel and Turkey, did not say that Syria was poised to use chemical arms, issuing his warning in a hypothetical way, according to Reuters. There is absolutely no change in the U.S. 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 reportedly said on his plane shortly before arriving in Tel Aviv. “So the regime, the Assad regime, should be under no illusions on that question,” Bolton also said. Trump has bombed Syria on two occasions during his presidency, in April 2017 and April 2018 for the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons during the conflict. The ongoing war has reportedly left more than 500,000 dead and forced 11 million to flee.
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