Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Pentagon holds briefing on situation in Syria after Trump announces airstrikes

Gerardo Duncan | 14 April, 2018, 22:17

"The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, we access that this was the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment", Mr. Dunford said.

Earlier Thursday, Trump appeared to walk back earlier comments in which he warned Russian Federation to brace for missiles which he said "will be coming".

He also condemned the recent chemical attack by the Syrian state in the suburb of Douma.

Trump's new national security adviser John Bolton has been ever-present in the deliberations, USA officials said. "But at the same time, it was a heavy strike".

Dunford said to ensure the airspace was clear, the Pentagon used the normal deconfliction line prior to the strike.

Messages are being passed to Moscow about the United States and its allies' intentions to create a "lasting deterrent" against the use of chemical weapons again, according to one senior administration official. "This is not about intervening in a civil war".

"Our strategy remains the same as a year ago: To drive this to a UN-brokered peace".

Mattis spoke before a House Armed Services Committee hearing a day after Trump taunted Russian Federation, warning of an attack in Syria.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Friday afternoon that Trump "is going to hold the Syrian government accountable".

Later he was noncommittal.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Sanders indicated the U.S. has "very high confidence that Syria was responsible and Russian Federation also".

Mattis says the United States, along with France and the UK, struck on account of Syrian President Bashar Assad "did not get the message" when the USA launched airstrikes after a chemical assault in 2017. "This evening, we conducted strikes with two allies on multiple sites". "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 during the meeting, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Mattis is asking that "responsible nations" join in condemning the Assad regime.

Worldwide observers with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have yet to reach the Damascus suburb of Douma, where the attack took place. In his conversation with May, the two "agreed it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged, and on the need to deter the further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime", according to May's office.

"Important infrastructure was destroyed which will result in a setback for the Syrian regime", Mattis said. Initial reports indicated the use of chlorine gas, possibly in addition to the nerve agent Sarin.

President Donald Trump is reiterating his title to supply different nations sort out additional of the burden in Syria.

The OPCW team is tasked with determining if a chemical attack took place, but not determining responsibility. It was not clear whether the presence of the investigators could affect the timing of any USA military action.

Mattis said military planners made efforts to avoid civilian casualties.

Mattis said he personally believes Syria is guilty of an "inexcusable" use of chemical weapons, while noting that the worldwide fact-finding team would likely fall short of determining who was responsible.

With respect to retaliation, Gen. Dunford said he was unaware of any USA troop losses, and could neither confirm or deny Syrian reports of missiles being shot down. "On a strategic level - is how do we keep this from escalating out of control", he said.

Syrian television reported that Syria's air defenses, which are substantial, have responded to the attack. More broadly, he doubted the wisdom of bombing. "We need to know where that's going, what the goal of it is before we take that act". The U.S. and Russian Federation have a phone line through which they deconflict air operations so as to avoid in-air collisions and any other mishaps.

"We're continuing to have ongoing meetings and conversations here at the White House", Sanders said.

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