United States concerned about triggering wider war as it weighs strike on Syria

13 April, 2018, 01:38 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Trump Wants to Make 'Major Decisions' on Syria in Next '24-48 Hours'

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is at the very least expressing caution about the possibility of USA military strikes in Syria in the wake of the hysteria over the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma on April 7.

Thursday's hearing, which included Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was slated to discuss the Pentagon's 2019 budget request, but was heavily focused on Syria.

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

"They can only say that they found evidence or did not, and as each day goes by - as you know, it's a non-persistent gas, so it becomes more and more hard to confirm it", Mattis said.

He said a chemical attack had likely occurred and hoped inspectors would be in place within a week to prove it.

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"On a strategic level, it's how do we keep this from escalating out of control", he said.

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

Mattis said the United States did not have any personnel on the ground in Douma during the attack and said time is of the essence to gather evidence.

Donald Trump said at a Cabinet meeting that "major decisions on Syria" will come in the next 24 to 48 hours after he figures out who was responsible for the alleged attack in Douma - Russia, or Syria, or Iran, or "all of them together".

"Now we have to make some further decisions. That's where we're at right now", Mattis told the committee.

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

"This is a complex area, I'll be the first to admit it", Mattis said.

"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. If the regime does allow an investigation, the inspectors will not be able to determine who launched a chemical attack, he said. "It's too bad that the world puts us in a position like that", he said.

Last week, Trump said he wanted to pull out of the war-torn nation, but this week he has taunted Assad ally Russian Federation with boasts of an impending missile strike.

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. "We have the proof that chemical weapons - at least chlorine gas - were used by Assad's regime", Macron told France's TF1 television. It is in the United States' best interests that worldwide agreements banning the use of chemical weapons be obeyed, he said.

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