Mattis: ‘No doubt’ Syria has chemical weapons

Mattis: ‘No doubt’ Syria has chemical weapons
© Getty Images

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet Mattis doesn't mention Russia by name at meeting with Balkan officials: report Trump references ‘legitimate media and fake-news media’ at meeting with NATO leader MORE 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.

ADVERTISEMENT
“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 TrumpDonald John TrumpReporters defend CNN's Acosta after White House says he 'disrespected' Trump with question Security costs of Trump visit to Scotland sparks outrage among Scottish citizens Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' MORE 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.