Mattis Says Trump's Warning Stopped Chemical Weapons Attack In Syria

Mattis Says Trump's Warning Stopped Chemical Weapons Attack In Syria

There is one major difference: Whereas Obama backed down from a threat to use force after a 2013 attack, opting instead for a diplomatic plan to remove Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, Trump has proven his willingness to authorize military force. The statement comes after the United States accused Syria of preparing for a chemical attack, without giving any evidence.

"It appears that they took the warning seriously", Mattis said, according to Reuters.

According to a knowledgeable senior administration official, Tillerson warned his counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a telephone conversation: the US sees that Russian Federation and Syria may be prepping for another chemical weapons attack; and that there will be consequences if Assad follows through with it.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him to Brussels, Mattis noted there has been no such attack since the White House issued a surprise statement Monday night that threatened President Bashar Assad's government with "a heavy price" if it used chemical weapons.

"I am not aware of any information about a threat that chemical weapons can be used", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.

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Mattis did not directly speak to USA intelligence about Shayrat Airbase.

"I think that Assad's chemical program goes far beyond one airfield", Mattis said. Many of them knew about the intelligence suggesting possible preparations for a chemical attack, but they weren't aware the White House was going to issue a public threat of military action - a major step.

The intelligence that prompted the administration's warning to Syria this week was "far from conclusive", said another US official familiar with the intelligence.

As of Tuesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had not offered any evidence to back up the claims he made the day before.

Russian Federation has supported the Syrian regime since 2015 with air strikes against what it says are Islamist extremists.

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"The goal is at this point not just to send Assad a message, but to send Russian Federation and Iran a message", said US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

He said the US assertions complicated peace talks on Syria, according to RIA news agency.

Since the United States sent a small detachment of troops into Syria in 2015, it has only become more embroiled in the six-year-old conflict. The fact is we are in Syria to destroy ISIS.

The Turkish army said YPG machinegun fire on Tuesday evening targeted Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army rebels south of the town of Azaz. President Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey would not flinch from taking tougher action against the YPG in Syria if Turkey believed it needed to.

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