USA concerned about triggering wider war as it weighs strike on Syria

14 April, 2018, 22:15 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Gen. Dunford on Syria Airstrikes: We Did Not Coordinate With Russians or Pre-Notify Them

Trump has pushed military leaders to develop plans for a sustained assault on Syrian regime targets in response to last weekend's chemical attack, the officials said.

"Important infrastructure was destroyed".

Trump also called out Russia's promise in 2013 that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons.

Mattis listed two concerns about directly attacking Assad regime targets: "There's a tactical concern of innocent civilians - that we don't add to any civilian deaths ..."

"The strike has been what many people here are bracing for", Doane said. The first target was a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area.

But in anticipation of any pushback from Syria or Russia, Dunford said the USA commander in Syria has changed the force protection levels for the 2,000 US troops there fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in case of retaliation.

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.

"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved", Dunford told reporters, adding the USA military advised Russia of airspace that would be used in the strike but did not "pre-notify them".

"We are very much aware this is hard to do in a situation like this, especially when the poison gas that Assad had assured the world he had gotten rid of obviously still exists", he said. Those were active this week to work through the air space issues and so forth.

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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 US strikes.

But Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard disagreed, and said last year's strike on a Syrian airfield following a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhun was illegal.

Mattis also said it was impossible any chemicals could be released by U.S. attacks on putative chemical storage sites, sharply insisting "of course not". "But on a strategic level, it's how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that", Mattis said in morning testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. By Thursday afternoon, NBC News reported the USA had confirmed the presence of a nerve agent and chlorine gas in blood and urine samples of the attack victims.

British Prime Minister Theresa May offered a similar statement shortly thereafter, saying the attacks would continue to degrade Syria.

He adds that, "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria - under no circumstances" and says that, "As other nations step up our contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home. We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies".

"We were not out to expand this", he said.

"Our strategy remains the same as a year ago: to drive this to a United Nations -brokered peace, but at the same time keep our foot on the neck of ISIS until we suffocate it", Mattis said.

But he warned of retaliation via a "significant disinformation campaign".

Mattis is asking that "accountable nations" participate condemning the Assad regime.

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