US Still Assessing Intel on Alleged Douma Chemical Attack - Mattis

  • US Still Assessing Intel on Alleged Douma Chemical Attack - Mattis

US Still Assessing Intel on Alleged Douma Chemical Attack - Mattis

Defense Secretary Mattis told the Congress that the United States is committed to ending Syria civil war through Geneva process, blames Russian Federation for being complicit in Syrian regime's retention of chemical weapons. While Mattis said that he believes Syrians used chemicals in an attack on Douma last Saturday, chemical weapons inspectors have not yet had access to the site.

Syria and Russian Federation have both denied the accusations, and the global chemical weapons watchdog said its team would begin its investigation on Saturday.

Currently, the USA and its allies "don't have evidence" that the Syrian regime carried out the attack last Saturday in the Damascus suburb of Douma that reportedly killed at least 40, Mattis said.

"Some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale and in the worst interest of not just the chemical weapons convention but of civilization itself", Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee.

The U.S. president has blamed Assad for the attack and in a rare direct condemnation of Russia's leader Vladimir Putin, Trump tweeted Sunday that "President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible" for their support of "Animal Assad". "In many cases, you know we don't have troops, we're not engaged on the ground there, so I can not tell you that we had evidence, even though we had a lot of media and social media indicators that either chlorine or sarin were used", Mattis said, speaking to members of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

"Get ready Russian Federation", he said in a tweet.

One year ago this month, Trump ordered dozens of cruise missiles to be fired at a Syrian air base after declaring there was no doubt Assad had "choked out the lives of helpless" civilians in an attack that used banned gases.

But he suggested in another tweet early Thursday that there was no timeline for a USA response.

He said "We're looking very seriously at that situation". In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS.

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!" "Where is our 'Thank you America?'"

The Pentagon chief and other top security officials were due to head to the National Security Council later Thursday, where he said he would present "various options to the president".