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

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"Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical-weapons infrastructure", Mattis said.

Trump said the strikes were in coordination with France and the United Kingdom, adding that the goal of the campaign is to "establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons".

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Friday afternoon that Trump "is going to hold the Syrian government accountable". The U.S., France and Britain condemned Assad's regime - as well as his allies Russian Federation and Iran - for the attack.

Lawmakers quizzed Mattis on what he made of President Donald Trump's muddled messaging over Syria.

The US military warned Russian Federation of areas it would be operating in, but did not coordinate planning or targets, Dunford said. Mattis cited protection of the 2000 or so US troops in Syria helping to fight ISIS. "But at the same time, it was a heavy strike". Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said the U.S. should "go over and bomb".

President Emmanuel Macron of France said on Thursday that French authorities had proof that the Syrian regime had launched the chemical attack. As a result of this attack at least 70 people died.

The Pentagon chief and other top security officials were due to head to the National Security Council later Thursday, where he said he would present "various options to the president". Russia's ambassador to Lebanon said any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launching sites targeted - a stark warning of a potential major confrontation.

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Mattis was also quick to criticize the Obama Administration's collaborative efforts with Russian Federation, which was originally supposed to lead to the removal of chemical weapons from Syria.

After the most recent suspected chemical attack in Syria, President Trump initially tweeted that "missiles are coming", and told the public that they could expect a decision on Syria within 24 to 48 hours. It is in the United States' best interests that global agreements banning the use of chemical weapons be obeyed, he said. "First of all, we are committed to ending that war through the Geneva process through the United Nations -orchestrated effort".

Trump said he would make a decision "fairly soon" about a strike.

Asked about the risks of USA military retaliation, Mattis cited two concerns, starting with avoiding civilian casualties.

"We are trying to stop the murder of innocent people".

Dunford then went into detail about the military strategy regarding the strike. "Congress and the [Trump] administration have worked together to provide to the military the resources they need to begin to reverse the erosion of our military strength", Thornberry said. "We know how much we have to work with". But Mattis added that there was no reports of losses to the United States. Recently, the Russian ambassador to Lebanon has vowed that Russia will shoot down any USA cruise missiles launched at Syria. "We do need to get the budget under control".