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

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Mattis briefed reporters on the Pentagon Friday an hour after President Donald Trump launched the strike. "We sent a clear message to Assad and his murderous lieutenants that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons' attack for which they will be held accountable".

Asked about concerns in planning a strike on Assad's regime, Mattis cited worry over inadvertently causing civilian casualties and avoiding anything that would trigger a wider war.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again. Trump's ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told NBC News on Thursday the administration has "enough proof" of the chemical attack but was still considering its response.

He said the president had Article II authority, allowing him to protect US forces deployed to Syria.

While last year's strikes were done unilaterally, and hit one target - a Syrian regime airfield that housed about 17 percent of its air force - Dunford said Friday's strikes were conducted with two allies on multiple sites and would "result in a long-term degradation of Syria's capability to develop chemical weapons".

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Mattis said he had no early reports of USA casualties but promised details in a morning briefing Saturday when more information is available.

Assad has used "chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents".

And he described the Middle East as a "troubled place".

The targets were specifically selected "to degrade the Syrian war machines ability to create chemical weapons", the secretary further explained.

Mattis said that any further strikes would "depend on Mr. Assad, should he decide to use more chemical weapons in the future".

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"We're continuing to have ongoing meetings and conversations here at the White House", Sanders said. Trump chastised Syria's two main allies, Russia and Iran, for their roles in supporting "murderous dictators", and noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had guaranteed a 2013 worldwide agreement for Assad to get rid of all of his chemical weapons. He says a "combined operation" with France and the United Kingdom is underway.

"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. We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies".

The U.S. Navy was shifting an additional Tomahawk missile-armed ship inside placing differ of Syria as President Donald Trump and his nationwide security aides mulled the scope and timing of an anticipated navy assault in retaliation for a suspected poison gasoline assault.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that Russian Federation should get ready for new and "smart" missiles that would be coming to Syria.

The presence of Russian troops and air defenses in Syria were among numerous complications weighing on Trump, who must also consider the dangers to roughly 2,000 American troops in the country if Russia were to retaliate for USA strikes.

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