Use of chemical weapons in Syria 'simply inexcusable': Mattis

Aaron Brown
April 14, 2018

"We have made steady progress over the last 14 months", Mattis said in opening remarks before the House committee.

On the complicated nature of the fight in Syria, Mattis said "at times you're going to see contrary impulses", after Rep. Joe Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat, read out some of President Donald Trump's tweets this week, first vowing to strike Syria, then suggesting the strikes may not be soon.

As the White House weighs a potential strike on Syria, a key concern is preventing the country's civil war from "escalating out of control", Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday.

But asked what is the best approach to deal with the conflict in Syria, Mattis said the US remains committed to "ending that war through the Geneva process, the United Nations orchestrated effort".

"They can only say that they found evidence or did not, and as each day goes by - as you know, it's a non-persistent gas, so it becomes more and more hard to confirm it", Mattis said.

Russian Federation was not consulted or informed of the strike, he said, and targets were specifically chosen to avoid hitting Moscow's operations or forces.

The U.S. military official claims it will become "more difficult" to obtain evidence to back up the claims that are being used to justify escalations towards war with Syria.

He adds ominously, "Hopefully someday we'll get along with Russian Federation, and maybe even Iran, but maybe not".

Friday's strike was launched in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack last Saturday which killed dozens of people, and injured scores more.

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At this stage it seems that the US and allies like France and Saudi Arabia could begin a strike on Syrian forces within the week. He said Assad's forcers should then push east of the Euphrates River, where USA troops are embedded with Kurdish forces.

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Mohsini also said 25 Taliban fighters were killed in the gunbattle that started late on April 11 and lasted until morning. Rahmani said the district is very close to the provincial capital, Ghazni city.

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I infer that the Trump administration construed Assad's latest chemical attack as strike two.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, welcomed Trump's consideration of "retaliatory action" even as he called the President's tweet "unconventional".

Mattis said the United States has yet to confirm details of the attack through global investigators.

Syria and Russian Federation have both denied the accusations, and the global chemical watchdog said it would deploy a team to investigate.

The world knows the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the (President Bashir al-) Assad regime.

Assad has used "chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents".

Asked about the risks of U.S. military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties.

Mr. Dunford would not describe the military assets that were deployed but added that, "this wave of air strikes is over". But shortly afterward the White House said "no final decision has been made". Recently, the Russian ambassador to Lebanon has vowed that Russia will shoot down any USA cruise missiles launched at Syria. He sat in the Oval Office with Trump last evening along with chief of staff John Kelly when Trump phoned May, and was the leading voice telling Trump to cancel a planned trip to South America to remain in the United States and monitor the Syria response.

"I hope you are also planning for a lean future", Smith said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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