During his first press briefing, Secretary of Defense James Mattis once again confirmed that the US is set to blame the Assad government for the Idlib chemical attack and offered a stern warning that the Syrian government will pay “very very stiff price” if further chemical attacks were launched in the future.
“I just want to say very clearly that the use of chemical weapons contrary to the Geneva Convention that Syria has signed up for, using chemical weapons that Syria agreed under U.N. pressure to remove from their arsenal, those chemical weapons that the Russians certified were gone, that if they use chemical weapons, they are going to pay a very, very stiff price. OK?”
Mattis also added that issues like “safe zones or no-fly zones” are still under consideration by President Donald Trump.
Q: You don’t see a point of doing safe zones or no-fly zones?
SEC. MATTIS: Those other issues that you bring up are always under consideration among allies, and certainly the president has options, but right now the purpose of this attack was singular, against the chemical weapons use.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said that only two facilities for production and storage of chemical weapons are located on the Syrian territory and they are controlled by militants.
“Destruction of 10 of the 12 facilities, used for storage and production of chemical weapons, was confirmed by OPCW experts. The Syrian authorities do not have access to the two remaining facilities, as they are located on the territory, controlled by the so-called opposition. For this reason, the OPCW cannot confirm the fact of destruction of chemical weapons on them,” Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy said.