Secretary James Mattis, General Joseph Dunford Explain US Military Strike on Damascus

Secretary James Mattis, General Joseph Dunford Explain US Military Strike on Damascus

Mattis said US -led missile strikes launched Friday night in Syria were "directed at the Syrian regime" and have "sent a clear message" to President Bashar Assad and his "murderous lieutenants". "We need to know where that's going, what the objective of it is before we take that act".

The world has been on high-alert for a punitive USA missile strike on Syria, and Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday that Russian Federation should "get ready", missiles "will be coming". But there is an effort to calibrate the response, even as Trump is pressing his team to act. And he insisted it remains U.S. policy not to be involved directly in Syria's civil war.

Although Mattis noted that military action carried risks, he also emphasised that Syrian use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.

"Our strategy remains the same as a year ago: to drive this to a United Nations -brokered peace, but at the same time keep our foot on the neck of ISIS until we suffocate it", Mattis said.

Trump spoke from the White House Friday night.

Secretary James Mattis, General Joseph Dunford Explain US Military Strike on Damascus

Russian Federation has called for another emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday. "You don't rush decisions like this". "The president has not made that decision".

"The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air". Mattis raised those concerns during Thursday's meeting at the White House, according to officials.

United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia from Moscow said on Thursday that the "immediate priority is to avert the danger of war".

Haley told reporters those claims were absurd.

"We used our normal deconfliction channels".

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Both Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that the Syrian regime was likely responsible for the attack.

Earlier Thursday, Trump softened his rhetoric.

"And the only reason Assad is still in power is because of the Russians' regrettable vetoes in the United Nations, and the Russian and the Iranian military", he said.

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. That strike was in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed 80 civilians. The organization said they were due to arrive on Saturday.

The two also expressed confidence that the USA had the evidence needed to confirm the most recent chemical attack.

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Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons.

Mr. Mattis said he is "absolutely confident" that Mr. Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, killing dozens last week in Douma, a rebel-held suburb of Damascus. But the sources did not know what happened to the samples after they reached Turkey, and it's not clear if those were the biological samples analyzed by the US.

Mattis sought to assure lawmakers that any attack on Assad would not distract from the administration's key policy in Syria: the destruction of the Islamic State, or ISIS.

He added that Russian forces were not given advance notice, though the airspace over Syria was conflicted with Russian air forces, as per normal procedures.

"We will try to make it better but it is a troubled place", Trump said. "We are not ruling out sarin right now", Mattis said. He said that France was working in close coordination with the Trump administration on the issue.

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