Russian Federation 'complicit' in Syrian regime's retention of chemical weapons: Mattis

Trump Wants to Make 'Major Decisions' on Syria in Next '24-48 Hours'

The US president has said that he is discussing with military leadership the situation surrounding the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma, which he slammed as "heinous" act against innocent civilians.

Mattis said that he has seen refugees from all over the world, including in Kosovo and Africa, he has never seen "refugees as traumatized as coming out of Syria".

Syria has denied using chemical weapons throughout the conflict that began in 2011, including the most recent suspected chemical attack Saturday in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus that killed at least 40 people.

"I believe there was a chemical attack and we are looking for the actual evidence", Mattis said. "And some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale, and in the worst interest of not just the chemical weapons convention, but of civilization itself".

Speaking at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Mattis made the comments as justification for last year's USA missile strikes on Syria but did not suggest what military action the administration might take in Syria in the coming days.

Mattis insisted that Trump has not yet made a decision to strike Syria, after the president earlier had tweeted that action "could be very soon or not so soon at all!" "We're still working on this", he said.

"Get ready Russian Federation", he said in a tweet.

The Pentagon is now working under war powers granted in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, even though operations across the Middle East have morphed broadly since those early days of seeking to destroy Al-Qaeda.

But he suggested in another tweet early Thursday that there was no timeline for a USA response. In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS.

Warning that he was concerned that a United States strike might lead to an "out of control" escalation in the Syrian war, Mattis said that Washington was "committed to ending that war through the Geneva process through the United Nations orchestrated effort". "Where is our 'Thank you America?'" "So they'll be made fairly soon".

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Mr. Trump's threats to attack are "reckless" and endanger global peace and security.

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