'Syria retained chemical weapons' - US Defense Secretary Mattis

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 23, 2017

"A Russian military advisor, Major Sergei Bordov, has died as a result of an attack by militants on the garrison of (Syrian) government forces", the ministry said.

Mattis wouldn't say how many chemical weapons he thinks Syria still has, but he did warn the country during a press conference with his Israeli counterpart Friday.

Lieberman praised Mattis' "clear and strong approach" to North Korea, Syria and Iran.

The US State Department later released a brief statement saying Tillerson and Lavrov spoke to "follow up bilateral issues" and topics "including the OPCW investigation into Syria's use of chemical weapons on April 4". "There is no longer any doubt", he told reporters. A last minute deal, brokered in part by Russian Federation in October 2013, instead made Syria pledge to destroy its chemical weapon stockpiles and sign the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' ban to ensure the weapons were not used in the future.

Assad has strongly denied he was behind the attack in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's northern Idlib province, and has accused the opposition of trying to frame his government. Just the day before, a senior Israeli military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that "a few tons of chemical weapons" remained in the hands of Assad's forces.

The implication is that Syria may be concerned about additional United States air strikes following the cruise missile attack earlier this month in retaliation for alleged Syrian use of sarin gas.

In September 2013, the UNSC unanimously adopted a resolution that the Syrian regime had until 2014 to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal.

Hezbollah and Iran, both bitter enemies of Israel, along with Russian Federation have sent forces to support Assad.

Canada is committed to worldwide efforts to end the Syrian civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and spawned an global refugee crisis, CTV News reported.

Mattis responded, "The two dangers that face Israel and all of the other nations in the region that are trying to maintain a stable and peaceful and prosperous region are those that I'm here to discuss with the Prime Minister, especially the week before Holocaust remembrance".

The defense secretary also met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

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