Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told lawmakers he believes a chemical weaponsattack occurred in Syria last weekend, but the Trump administration was still assessing conclusive evidence and deciding how to respond, including, whether to attack Syria with USA military strikes, as of Thursday.
Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon Friday that the US and its allies carried out a "heavy" one-time strike on Syria - double the size of last year's offensive - that President Donald Trump was authorized to order under the Constitution.
Trump said the U.S.is prepared to sustain pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.
In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.
Russian and Iranian forces have bolstered Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad as he clings to power after a bloody seven-year conflict.
"We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences", said Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
The United States, along with assurance from France and the United Kingdom, launched a response Friday against the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad days after his government allegedly used chemical weapons on its citizens.
"On April 7 the regime chose to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for global law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents", Mattis began.
The third target, which was also near Homs, contained both a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and a command post.
He said a chemical attack had likely occurred and hoped inspectors would be in place within a week to prove it. "We were very precise and proportionate, but at the same time, it was a heavy strike", he said. He did, however, say Syrian surface-to-air missiles were deployed against the attack, and did not believe Russian Federation responded at all. James Mattis said at a press conference Friday night.
"We selected targets that would minimize the risk to innocent civilians", Dunford said.
Mattis said he personally believes Syria is guilty of an "inexcusable" use of chemical weapons, while noting that the global fact-finding team would likely fall short of determining who was responsible.
Mattis said there was no evidence of USA losses in the operation. The Cabinet agreed on the need to "take action" to deter further chemical weapons use by Assad, but added that May would continue to consult with allies to coordinate an global response. Now, Mattis said, Russian Federation is "complicit" in helping the regime retain them.
Trump spoke from the White House Friday night.
At the same time, he said, the USA had no intention to expand the strike further than chemical weapons-type targets.
"Now you can look back to a year ago when we did fire missiles into Syria unrelated to ISIS, and that was of course the use of chemical weapons".
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