Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Chemical weapons use in Syria 'simply inexcusable': Mattis

Chemical weapons use in Syria 'simply inexcusable': Mattis

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford (R) brief members of the media on Syria at the Pentagon April 13, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia.

Mattis said at the Pentagon that the air strike Friday used double the weapons of the one President Donald Trump ordered previous year and were against targets the US believed were "selective to hurt the chemical weapons program".

"I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad", Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Room.

The safety secretary says Friday's strikes have "despatched a clear message" to Assad and his "murderous lieutenants".

Mr. Mattis said coalition forces have "gone to great lengths to avoid civilians and foreign casualties, and he called on "responsible nations" to join in condemning the Assad regime".

Last week, Trump said he wanted to pull out of the war-torn nation, but this week he has taunted Assad ally Russian Federation with boasts of an impending missile strike.

The Trump administration did not lay the blame only at the feet of Syria's leader. He said the three nations have "marshaled their righteous power".

"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

"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".

Dunford said there were many targets to choose from, but they chose ones that would minimize the risk to innocent civilians.

Chemical weapons use in Syria 'simply inexcusable': Mattis
Chemical weapons use in Syria 'simply inexcusable': Mattis

Messages are being passed to Moscow about the USA and its allies' intentions to create a "lasting deterrent" against the use of chemical weapons again, according to one senior administration official.

Trump has signaled in newest weeks that, no matter advice from his nationwide security group, he wished to hurry up the timetable of the withdrawal of American forces.

"We're continuing to have ongoing meetings and conversations here at the White House", Sanders said.

Mattis says the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own people last week. He says a "combined operation" with France and the United Kingdom is underway.

President Donald Trump is set to address the nation Friday night amid anticipation of a retaliatory strike for an apparent Syrian chemical weapon attack last week.

Trump said the strikes were in coordination with France and the United Kingdom, adding that the objective of the campaign is to "establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons".

That's according to a source familiar with the president's plans, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Trump has talked about he'll keep the Syrian authorities, along with its Russian and Iranian allies, accountable for the suspected assault. Trump wrote in a Thursday morning tweet (Friday NZT) that an attack could happen "very soon or not so soon at all".

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that Russian Federation should get ready for new and "smart" missiles that would be coming to Syria. "We did not do any coordination with the Russians on the strikes, nor did we pre-notify them".

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