Mattis Won't Rule Out Military Action After Recent Attack In Syria


U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday he would not rule out "anything" after this weekend's suspected chemical attack in Syria triggered speculation about a U.S. military response and he piled blame on Russian Federation for falling short on its obligations to ensure that Syria abandoned its chemical weapons capabilities.

President Donald Trump has condemned the "heinous" suspected poison gas attack in Syria and said he'll make a decision on the US response within 24 to 48 hours. "Probably after the fact".

Sanders says Trump is "confident" in the intelligence related to the attack but she will not specifically say if the US government has determined that Assad's government was behind the attack.

"And if he does it's going to be very tough, very tough", the president added. "He will. Everybody will".

Trump was set to get a briefing and have dinner with military leaders.

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The U.S. military has a wide range of warplanes and other capabilities in the Middle East. A Navy destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, was underway in the eastern Mediterranean after completing a port call in Cyprus.

The attacks come during an uneasy time in Syria, and also as President Trump carefully navigates exactly what to do in the country, where there are approximately 2,000 USA troops now stationed.

"We have a lot of military options in Syria", U.S. President Donald Trump said late Monday. The Pentagon chief said he would not rule out a US military strike against Syria in response to a suspected poison gas attack. "To me there's not much of a doubt, but the generals will figure it out", Trump said.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Assad heard Trump's signal that he wanted to withdraw from Syria and, "emboldened by American inaction", launched the attack.

A reporter asked if he could rule out launching airstrikes against Assad.

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Mattis, in separate remarks at the Pentagon, also suggested Moscow bore some blame. Monday was the first day on the job for Bolton, who has previously advocated military action against Syria. He noted that Russian Federation was a guarantor of a 2013 agreement to eliminate Syria's entire chemical weapons arsenal, suggesting Moscow shares blame for the suspected gas attack. The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, was circulated ahead of an emergency Security Council meeting.

Trump said earlier that he would soon make a decision on how to respond, and against whom.

Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan spoke by phone Monday with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. That attack killed more than 70 people.

As U.S. officials consider whether and how to respond, they are looking at what type of chemical agent was used.

The Syrian American Medical Society, a non-profit group of healthcare workers in Syria, said 500 people, mostly women and children, sought treatment at Douma healthcare facilities for symptoms consistent with a gas attack.

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