Secretary Mattis in Israel: Assad has more chemical weapons

On his first official visit to Israel as US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis met with the Israeli Defense Minister to discuss the current situation in Syria and the Iranian threat. Mattis stated that the international community is certain Assad has more chemical weapons but warned against their use.
Secretary Mattis met with Minister Lieberman on first official visit to Israel Photo Credit: Ariel Harmoni, IMOD/Channel 2 News

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who is visiting Israel, met this morning (Friday) with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. In a joint press conference, the two discussed the situation in Syria, the Iran deal and synchronization of Jerusalem’s and Washington’s positions on security matters. Mattis said that Syria has moved its aircraft to a base in Russia over the past days out of fear of another attack but he did not specify whether such attack is imminent.

In response to one of the questions, Mattis said: "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 had removed them all. There is no longer any doubt."

Israel warmly welcomed the US Secretary of Defense Photo Credit: Ariel Harmoni, IMOD/Channel 2 News

Although Mattis declined to comment on the exact amount of weapons Syria still has, he believes Damascus’ violation of the UN Security Council resolution should be dealt with diplomatically. Mattis warned that it would be a very bad decision for Syria to use chemical weapons again.

Lieberman similarly declined to discuss the matter further in detail but ensured that Israel is also certain Assad used chemical weapons and that Israel supports the American attack in response.

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