Statement By Defense Secretary Mattis On Airstrikes Against Syria

Gen. Dunford on Syria Airstrikes: We Did Not Coordinate With Russians or Pre-Notify Them

Gen. Dunford on Syria Airstrikes: We Did Not Coordinate With Russians or Pre-Notify Them

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told lawmakers he believes a chemical weapons attack 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.

Associated Press reporters saw smoke rising from east Damascus and the sky turned orange.

Trump spoke from the White House Friday night. "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place", he tweeted.

"The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, we access that this was the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment", Mr. Dunford said. After the attack ceased and the early morning skies went dark once more, vehicles with loudspeakers roamed the streets of Damascus blaring nationalist songs.

Statement By Defense Secretary Mattis On Airstrikes Against Syria

Sanders said Trump would speak later with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

"We will not know, if this investigating team that goes in - if we get them in, if the regime will let them in - we will not know who did it", he said.

Global observers with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have yet to reach the Damascus suburb of Douma, where the attack took place.

Earlier Thursday, Trump appeared to walk back earlier comments in which he warned Russian Federation to brace for missiles which he said "will be coming". By Thursday afternoon, NBC News reported the US had confirmed the presence of a nerve agent and chlorine gas in blood and urine samples of the attack victims.

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At stake in Syria is the potential for confrontation, if not outright conflict, between the United States and Russian Federation, former Cold War foes whose relations have deteriorated in recent years over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Mattis and Dunford acknowledged the strike was created to degrade Syria's chemical weapons capability without killing civilians or the many foreign fighters in Syria's multi-sided civil war, particularly those from Russian Federation.

Although Mattis noted that military action carried risks, he also emphasised that Syrian use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated. He says a "combined operation" with France and the United Kingdom is underway. "And of course the powers that have signed the chemical weapons prohibition have every reason to challenge Assad should he choose to violate that".

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. "We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies". Trump said Thursday on Twitter.

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British submarines were ordered within missile range of Syria, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Trump's United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, said the president had not yet made a final decision, two days after he tweeted that Russian Federation should "get ready" because a missile attack "will be coming" at Moscow's chief Middle East ally.

"Last year we conducted a unilateral strike on a single site", Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford revealed to reporters at the Department of Defense.

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