Haley, Mattis divided on evidence of Syria gas attack

by Abel Hampton April 13, 2018, 2:31
Haley, Mattis divided on evidence of Syria gas attack

Despite Defense Secretary James Mattis admitting the U.S. doesn't yet have evidence on an alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack, he and other USA officials indicate the United States is readying to attack Syria over it. President Trump has publicly announced there will be missiles fired, and USA allies are also indicating they'll be involved.

Mattis, who was addressing a hearing of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, would not discuss the US military strategy process, but he did talk about the importance of defeating ISIS and protecting civilians in Syria.

"We're still working on this", Mattis said when asked whether there is sufficient evidence to accuse Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical agents in Douma. "We're trying to get inspectors in, probably within a week". "It is 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. "The president has not made that decision".

"There will be notification to leadership, of course, prior to the attack".

The Defense Department last April alerted lawmakers before launching 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base in response to a similar chemical weapons attack that killed more than 70 Syrian civilians.

Lawmakers quizzed Mattis on what he made of President Donald Trump's confused messaging over Syria.

However, he reiterated Trump's attitude to the issue, saying the Pentagon was ready "to provide military options if they are appropriate as the president determines", NBC News reported. That was a marked change from Monday when a decision seemed imminent.

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria", Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

That boast came about a day after Trump tweeted for Russian Federation to "get ready", because USA missiles "will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'" Officials later said no decisions on a Syria strike had been made when the commander in chief tweeted that.

"I believe there was a chemical attack and we are looking for the actual evidence", Mattis told a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, warning one of his top concerns about any USA military strike was preventing an "out-of-control" escalation in that country's war, in which Russia, Iran, Turkey and others have taken sides.

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