Haley, Mattis divided on evidence of Syria gas attack

13 Апреля, 2018, 01:33 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Trump Wants to Make 'Major Decisions' on Syria in Next '24-48 Hours'

Asked to comment on possible US strikes, Peskov said "it's necessary to avoid any steps that may fuel tensions in Syria".

Earlier Thursday, Trump softened his rhetoric.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis testifies to the House Armed Services Committee on "The FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the Department of Defense" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2018.

The defense secretary said that he did believe that a chemical attack did take place, but that the U.S. was still "looking for the actual evidence".

The U.S. has threatened to respond militarily to the alleged chemical attack near the capital of Damascus last weekend that killed at least 40 people, many of them children, in the town of Douma.

Mattis insisted that Trump has not yet made a decision to strike Syria, after the president earlier had tweeted that action "could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

"We are trying to stop the murder of innocent people, how do we keep this from escalating out of control", he told Tsongas. If the regime does allow an investigation, the inspectors will not be able to determine who launched a chemical attack, he said.

"Mattis will not want a strike if it doesn't combine with an overall strategy toward Syria, which this administration does not have", James Jeffrey, who was ambassador to Iraq at the time that Mattis was head of U.S. Central Command, told Politico.

Peskov wouldn't say if Moscow could use a Russian-U.S. military hotline to avoid escalation in the event of a U.S. strike, saying only that "the hotline exists and has remained active".

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"We're still assessing the intelligence, ourselves and our allies", Mattis said.

Mattis was referring to global investigating teams from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

"You saw President Obama try to deal with those chemical weapons when he was in and enlisting the Russians who now it shows were complicit in Syria retaining those weapons, Assad retaining them - and the only reason Assad is still in power is because of the Russians regrettable vetoes in the United Nations and the Russian and Iranian military", Mattis said. "Protection of our forces, I don't think we need to wait until they are under chemical attack when the weapons are used in the same theater we are operating in".

"Our role in Syria is the defeat of ISIS", he said.

"We meet under rather different circumstances than past year".

The United States, France and Britain are finalising plans for an expected strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian lawmakers have warned the United States that Moscow would view an airstrike on Syria as a war crime and that it could trigger a direct U.S-Russian military clash.

"I hope you are also planning for a lean future", Smith said.

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