Russian Federation 'complicit' in Syrian regime's retention of chemical weapons: Mattis

Mattis defies Trump on Syria. Is his job now in danger

Mattis defies Trump on Syria. Is his job now in danger

Mattis placed blame on Russian Federation for the continuing alleged chemical attacks in Syria, despite the fact that Mattis said the USA does not have hard evidence that chemical weapons were used in the Douma attack that has killed at least 43 people.

"I believe there was a chemical attack".

"We will not know who did it". Mattis cited protection of the 2000 or so USA troops in Syria helping to fight ISIS.

Mattis also said the use of chemical weapons in Syria is "simply inexcusable", after a suspected poison gas attack in eastern Ghouta's Douma on Saturday. "We're trying to stop the murder of innocent people, but on a strategic level it's how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if, if you get my drift on that". His request changed hours later after a National Security Council meeting, and the president made a decision to keep America's 2,000 troops in Syria with the goal of bringing them home within a few months.

Following an agriculture meeting at the White House later Thursday, Trump said of Syria that "we'll see what happens", but he expected decisions would be made "fairly soon".

"This year's budget builds on a readiness recovery that we started in (2017) and reinforces our effort to develop the capabilities that we need both today and tomorrow", Dunford said.

"The president has said, though, what he was going to do, I think it is important as a nation that we follow through on those things, we've waited too long already", said Mr. Corker, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is retiring from the Senate at the end of this year.


Mattis, however, indicated on Wednesday that evidence of what happened was still being studied.

"We're still assessing the intelligence ourselves, and our allies". Mr. Trump responded then by launching dozens of Navy cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield.

Speaking at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Mattis made the comments as justification for last year's US missile strikes on Syria but did not suggest what military action the administration might take in Syria in the coming days.

Mr. Trump did not detail what a strike on Syria would look like, or whether these would be USA missiles. The president canceled a foreign trip in order to manage a crisis that is testing his vow to stand up to Assad.

But he suggested in another tweet early Thursday that there was no timeline for a USA response.

Mattis, in some of his strongest comments on Syria to date, said he had been convinced of a chemical attack in Syria. A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the U.S.in the lead, could send a message of global unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons and counter Syria's political and military support from Russian Federation and Iran.

The Trump administration, which has not yet confirmed the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, is looking to coordinate its response with allies, including France and Britain.

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