Mattis: The Syrian Regime 'Would Be Ill-Advised' to Use Chemical Weapons Again

In terms of balancing the interests of Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, Mattis said, "Welcome to the real world".

"Russia has not lived up to these commitments", Tillerson said.

The opposition fears that the new constitution will pave the way to allowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stay in power despite six years of bloodshed.

However it was "highly likely" that Syria had stockpiled some of its weapons after the 2013 intervention, the Trump administration officials said in a briefing reported by Reuters.

The United States is concerned that sarin gas was recently used in Syria, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said today. "We are even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use".

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Two senior US officials warned on Friday that Syria's continued chemical warfare continue could serve as an opening to a chemical attack on the United States, security website The Cipher Brief reported Friday. "The OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Resolution) Fact-Finding Mission has confirmed multiple incidents of chemical weapons use in Syria, including the use of the toxic industrial chemical chlorine as a weapon", reads the report.

President Donald Trump "hasn't excluded anything" in the bid to halt the program, a senior USA official told AFP. "We reserve the right to use military force to prevent or deter the use of weapons of mass destruction".

The US and Russian Federation agreed in 2013 to destroy Syria's chemical weapons arsenal by 2014.

Mattis was referring to the when the United States launched Tomahawk missiles against Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians.

Last April, the US launched several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in response to what it called illegal Syrian use of chemical weapons.

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Years of efforts by two US presidents have failed to end the reports on chemical-weapons use in Syria.

The chemical of choice has most often been industrial chlorine, which is easy to produce and legal to possess, rather than sarin, which is banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention. Rebel forces have been fighting Assad in a gruesome civil war for years.

After another alleged attack in April 2017, President Donald Trump ordered a retaliatory missile strike, but 10 months later, the US and global observers say the weapons are still used.

Raising the alarm about the continued threat, USA officials said it was highly likely that Assad kept a hidden stockpile of chemical weapons after 2013 that he failed to properly disclose.

On one day last month, two separate chlorine attacks were reported in rebel-held towns.

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"We're on the record and you all have seen how we reacted to that", Mattis said.


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