The US says it has identified “potential preparations” for another chemical attack in Syria, and issued a stark warning to the Syrian government.
The White House said the activities were similar to those made before a suspected chemical attack in April.
Dozens died in that attack and prompted President Donald Trump to order a strike against a Syrian air base.
The US statement warned President Bashar al-Assad of “a heavy price” if another strike occurred.
It said “another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime” was likely to result “in the mass murder of civilians”.
It added: “As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”
Dozens of civilians, including many children, died in a suspected nerve gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, in April.
In response, US Navy ships in the Mediterranean fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Shayrat airfield, in western Homs province, which it said was used to store chemical weapons.