Mattis, Dunford on Syrian Strike: 'Decisive Action' by US, Allies

Glen Norman
April 14, 2018

"Important infrastructure was destroyed, which will result in a setback for the Syrian regime - and they will lose years of research and development data, specialized equipment and expensive chemical-weapons precursors", Dunford said.

The action Friday was the second such strike Trump has authorized in Syria after the US launched 59 Tomahawk missiles from warships at a Syrian airbase in April 2017. British officials said up to 75 people were killed.

Speaking from the White House, Trump says, "To Iran and to Russian Federation, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?"

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

The ambassador said that Russian specialists went to Douma to inspect the situation, but could not find any evidence of a chemical attack: "Locals were interviewed about the cessation of resistance to the fighters".

Later he was noncommittal. "We are very confident chlorine was used, we are not ruling out sarin now".

The National Security Council discussed options with the president for responding to the attack, but the administration was still syncing up with allies Thursday evening.

"I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad", Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Room. "This time, our allies and we have struck harder", he said. A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the United States in the lead, could send a message of global unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday morning his country had proof Bashar al-Assad's regime had carried out the attack.

Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump launched airstrikes in retaliation for the nation's alleged use of chemical weapons. The Cabinet agreed on the need to "take action" to deter further chemical weapons use by Assad, but added that May would continue to consult with allies to coordinate an global response. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. The decision to strike, after days of deliberations, marked Trump's second order to attack Syria; he authorized a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles to hit a single Syrian airfield in April 2017 in retaliation for Assad's use of sarin gas against civilians. It was not clear whether the presence of the investigators could affect the timing of any U.S. military action.

"The strike was not only a strong message that their actions were inexcusable, but it has inflicted damage without unnecessary risk to innocent civilians", he added.

He said under Article 2 of the US constitution, the US President has all the powers and rights to protect US interests and nation security.

The US president said the US is 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.

"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place". More broadly, he doubted the wisdom of bombing.

He adds that, "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria - under no circumstances" and says that, "As other nations step up our contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home". "We need to know where that's going, what the objective of it is before we take that act".

President Donald Trump is warning Russian Federation and Iran about their affiliation with Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad's authorities, as he broadcasts the launch of retaliatory strikes after an apparent chemical weapons assault closing week. About 2,000 USA military personnel are in Syria. He did, however, say Syrian surface-to-air missiles were deployed against the attack, and did not believe Russian Federation responded at all.

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