Domingo, 15 Julio, 2018

Mattis: Syria Still Has Chemical Weapons Regardless What Assad Claims

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman right with US counterpart James Mattis in Tel Aviv Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman right with US counterpart James Mattis in Tel Aviv
Eleena Tovar | 23 Abril, 2017, 20:53

Syria still possesses chemical weapons, the Pentagon chief has said, in a fresh USA warning against the banned munitions being used again.

On his first visit to Israel in his current capacity, Mattis met with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and President Reuven Rivlin.

Lavrov and Tillerson "agreed to examine again a possibility of opening an objective probe into this incident under the auspices of the OPCW", the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said a ministry statement. "No doubt they have dispersed their aircraft in recent days", Mattis said.

Gen Mattis's comments follow the recent missile strike ordered by President Trump against a Syrian airbase after the alleged chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

"I can say authoritatively that they have retained some", said Mattis.

Assad stated that the Syrian army did carry out an air attack in the province of Idlib on April 4, but six hours earlier than the incident reported by western media.

In a 2013 agreement brokered by Russian Federation and the United States, Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons. "We made that very clear with our strike", on the Shayrat Airport in Homs, the Secretary of Defense said.

The United States - which fired 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield on April 7 after Syria allegedly used chemical weapons against a civilian neighborhood - has also sanctioned some Syrian entities and individuals.

The United States will not allow that to happen, Mattis said.

The agreement was later enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution. We sense a great change in the direction of American policy.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis today met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, where the secretary highlighted America's strong bilateral ties with Israel and its commitment to Israel's security.

The missile strikes were the first known direct U.S. attack on the Syrian government since the country's civil war began in 2011.

Part of the goal of Mattis' trip is to discuss U.S. -Israel ties, as well as address the ongoing challenges facing the region - namely the danger posed by Iran.

These hostile factions might push south towards the Jordanian northern borders after the battles for Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria are over, so if anything, it is Jordan that has all the reasons to suspect a military threat from terrorist groups through southern Syria.

The minister said the Syrian president knows well that Jordan is a balancing power in the region, because it enjoys worldwide respect.