Mattis expects Russian Federation 'disinformation campaign' on Syria strikes

by Garry Watts April 14, 2018, 10:46
Mattis expects Russian Federation 'disinformation campaign' on Syria strikes

Mattis said the USA was convinced that Syria used chlorine gas on its citizens, possibly even sarin gas, which has been used in the past.

Trump said the prepared to "sustain" pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

Even as Trump appeared to announce a decision to launch strikes, White House officials said no final plans had been made.

The recognition of Syria's complexities "means you are at times. going to see contrary impulses", Mattis said.

This attack differed from the one past year in that, instead of targeting an air field, we targeted what can be described as infrastructure. "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".

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said missiles hit three sites, including the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, a government body responsible for research and development of advanced weapons systems.

Secretary of Defense Mattis said he is not aware at this time (about an hour after the attack) of any loss of US personnel or aircraft.

Later, he told reporters a decision will "be made fairly soon".

Mr. Macron also said France would continue to push for a cease-fire at the United Nations and for humanitarian aid for civilian populations on the ground, to avoid, he said, "the awful images of crimes that we saw, with children and women who were dying by suffocation, because they were subjected to chlorine".

But he suggested in another tweet early Thursday that there was no timeline for a USA response. "That's where we're at right now", Mattis told the committee.

Despite foreign allies' expressions of confidence in the Syrian regime's culpability in the attack, United States officials have not ventured that far in public.

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One of his biggest concerns in a potential strike, however, is the death of innocent civilians, Mattis said.

Speaking from the White House, Trump says, "To Iran and to Russian Federation, I ask: What kind of a nation must be related to the mass murder of innocent males, girls and kids?"

Trump says that last Saturday, Syrian President Bashar Assad deployed chemical weapons in what was a "significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very bad regime".

On Friday evening, President Trump announced that he has ordered the U.S. military to attack Syria's government.

Mattis is asking that "accountable nations" participate condemning the Assad regime.

President Donald Trump is able to take care of the nation Friday evening time amid anticipation of a retaliatory strike for an apparent Syrian chemical weapon assault closing week. Trump's Friday comments suggested this may be a sustained attack, saying America's "righteous power" would establish a deterrent to chemical attacks, despite Mattis saying it was a one-time thing.

Mattis and Dunford opened the hearing by lauding recent efforts to boost the Pentagon's budget.

Dunford added that he was "not aware of any Russian activity", in response, though he added more details might be available in the morning. The deal allowed defense spending to reach $700 billion for fiscal year 2018, which ends in September 30, and to reach $716 billion for fiscal year 2019, which begins October 1.

"We're continuing to have ongoing meetings and conversations here at the White House", Sanders said. "Congress and the [Trump] administration have worked together to provide to the military the resources they need to begin to reverse the erosion of our military strength", Thornberry said. "We need to know where that's going, what the objective of it is before we take that act".

Asked about the claims, Dunford said the US has seen an attempt from Syria to take out missiles with their own defense system. "We do need to get the budget under control".

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