Mattis says: "I believe there was a chemical attack in Syria"

Mattis says:

Although Mattis noted that military action carried risks, he also emphasised that Syrian use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated. The Syrian Army is on a steady path to military victory in the seven-year-long civil war that has drawn in plenty of foreign players.

"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. "It is to drive this to a UN-brokered peace but, at the same time, keep our foot on the neck of ISIS until we suffocate it". The president tweeted on Thursday that an attack "could be very soon or not so soon at all".

Later on Thursday he was noncommittal.

President Donald Trump, in a Thursday morning meeting with governors and members of Congress at the White House, said, "We're looking very, very seriously, very closely at that whole situation".

According to the reports, the president wants the U.S. response to an alleged chemical strike by the Assad regime in Syria to also include measures that would hurt Damascus allies Russian Federation and Iran.

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A White House official told the Journal that Trump "wants Mattis to push the limits a little bit more".

In 2014, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that Syria's chemical weaposn arsenal had been eliminated.

Douma at the time of the alleged attack was the under control of the Obama and Clinton Funded Islamist group Army of Islam, and was only this week by the Syrian government forces.

President Emmanuel Macron of France said on Thursday that French authorities had proof that the Syrian regime had launched the chemical attack.

The United States is attempting to calibrate its response to be strong enough to deter Assad from use of chemical weapons without destroying his government.

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Germany refused to take part in the USA -led war in Iraq, and in 2011 abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force to protect civilians in Libya. It was not clear whether the presence of the investigators could affect the timing of any USA military action.

Mattis declined to discuss US military planning on Syria but he acknowledged two main concerns as Washington mulls potential action against Syria's Bashar al-Assad's forces: protecting civilians and avoiding triggering a military escalation that could get "out of control".

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress on Thursday he believes there was a chemical attack in Syria, adding that the United States wants inspectors on the ground soon since the job of collecting evidence becomes more hard as time passed. "But on a strategic level, it's how do we keep this from escalating out of control - if you get my drift on that", Mattis said. We'll see what happens. More broadly, he doubted the wisdom of bombing.

"This is a complex area, I'll be the first to admit it", Mattis said. "We know how much we have to work with".

Mattis, who made the comments as he testified before a House panel, appeared on Capitol Hill for the first time since a chemical attack in Syria left more than 40 dead and fueled talk of a US -led strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

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The plans for military action have especially been complicated because of the presence of roughly 2,000 Russian troops, who have been stationed in the country since 2015. Russia's ambassador to Lebanon said any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launching sites targeted - a stark warning of a potential major confrontation.

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