Mattis: ‘No doubt’ Syria has chemical weapons

Mattis: ‘No doubt’ Syria has chemical weapons
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Defense Secretary James Mattis says Syrian President Bashar Assad is lying when he claims his nation doesn't have chemical weapons.

Assad has denied being behind a chemical attack on his own people earlier this month, insisting in an interview that Syria doesn't have chemical weapons. But Mattis says there's no question he does.

“There can be no doubt in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it has removed them all,” Mattis said Friday in Israel, according to The Associated Press.

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“I can say authoritatively they have retained some, it’s a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and it’s going to have to be taken up diplomatically and the would be ill advised to try to use any again, we made that very clear with our strike.”

President Trump launched a missile strike against the Syrian air base where officials say Assad staged the chemical attack that killed more than 90 civilians.

Speaking alongside Mattis, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel has “100 percent information that [the] Assad regime used chemical weapons against rebels.”

Senior Israeli defense officials said Wednesday that Assad’s military is believed to have as much as three tons of chemical weapons despite a 2013 agreement ordering the country to dispose of its stockpiles.