The Assad regime in Syria appears to be taking the initial steps necessary to launch a chemical weapons attack, the White House said in a statement late on Monday.

The actions, if taken, would mean Assad and his government would “pay a heavy price,” the statement issued by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reads.

According to Spicer, the preparations that are underway would lead to an attack that “would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”