Mattis: US Wants Proof Before Striking Syria for Chemical Attack

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Douma after government airstrikes east of Damascus the Syrian capital on April 7

"It is 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 during the meeting, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Nevertheless, there is a view among Trump's national security team that the President's tweets earlier this week - including one threatening U.S. missiles "will be coming, nice and new and "smart" " - forced their hand and made some type of strikes inevitable.

In London, the British Cabinet had "agreed that the Assad regime has a track record of the use of chemical weapons and it is highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday's attack", Downing Street said in a statement.

Lawmakers quizzed Mattis on what he made of President Donald Trump's muddled messaging over Syria. "This time, our allies and we have struck harder", he said.

"Until we have a more long-term strategy, until we have some idea where we're going in Syria and the Middle East, it seems unwise, to me, to start launching missiles", said Smith. "But at the same time, it was a heavy strike", Mattis said. But he said the United States did not tip off Russian Federation about the attacks or the targets. Mattis says the Pentagon will provide more information on the attack Saturday.

"I am confident the Syrian regime conducted the chemical attack on innocent people in this last week - yes, absolutely confident of it", he said. During the Pentagon briefing, it was revealed that three facilities had been targeted, all related to Syrian chemical storing, and scientific research facilities.

At the United Nations, Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told reporters that two teams of investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog are due to arrive in Syria on Thursday and Friday to look into the Douma incident.

However, there have been "contrary impulses", he said, such as last year's USA missile strikes in Syria in response to a chemical attack and now recent discussions for another strike for the same reason.

"Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message a year ago".

Messages are being passed to Moscow about the USA and its allies' intentions to create a "lasting deterrent" against the use of chemical weapons again, according to one senior administration official. "Because we have seen that red lines that go unenforced just encourage further provocative action by Assad", he told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday.

Decisions will be made "fairly soon", President Trump said.

Mr. Dunford would not describe the military assets that were deployed but added that, "this wave of air strikes is over". "We need to know where that's going, what the objective of it is before we take that act".

However, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., ranking Democrat on the committee, warned a soaring deficit is facing the United States as a result of an expanding budget and the military must prepare for tough questions on spending in the future.

Germany refused to take part in the US -led war in Iraq, and in 2011 abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force to protect civilians in Libya. "We do need to get the budget under control".

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