Damascus responsible for chemical attack, Mattis claims

US Defense Secretary James Mattis has reiterated unfounded allegations against the Syrian government over use of chemical weapons, saying there is “no doubt” that Damascus was responsible for a recent gas attack.

“Last Tuesday, on the 4th of April, the Syrian regime attacked its own people using chemical weapons,” claimed the US military chief during a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. “I have personally reviewed the intelligence and there is no doubt the Syrian regime is responsible for the decision to attack and for the attack itself.”

Mattis made the remarks after Washington repeatedly held Damascus responsible for a last week’s chemical attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib province, which claimed over 80 lives.

Syria has categorically denied the accusation and stressed that its Idlib airstrike had targeted a depot, where terrorists stored chemical weapons.

In retaliation for the suspected gas attack, US President Donald Trump ordered two US Navy destroyers to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea at Syria’s al-Shayrat airfield early on Friday, claiming that the airfield had been used to store chemical weapons and Syrian aircraft.

During the Tuesday briefing, the Pentagon chief also stressed that Washington’s military strategy in Syria has not changed even after its retaliatory missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, claiming that, “our priority remains the defeat” of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.

In September 2014, the US and some of its allies started conducting airstrikes inside Syria allegedly against Daesh terrorists.

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