President Donald Trump's frequent questioning about the integrity of his spy agencies is coming back to haunt him.
"The objective of this attack was singularly against chemical weapons use", Mattis told reporters, saying preventing the use of chemical weapons represented "a vital national interest" of the United States in order to ensure that such weapons of war do not become "commonplace". Putin quickly invited the Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers to Moscow on Friday, the day after Tillerson departs.
Of Assad, Trump added: "This is an animal".
Mattis also believes this isn't the first time Assad has violated an global law dating back to 1925 and used chemical weapons.
He said the U.S. cruise missile strike in response "demonstrates the United States will not passively stand by while Assad ignores worldwide law and employs chemical weapons he declared destroyed". Putin had even granted Tillerson with a friendship honor. "The same is happening now".
"It was very clear that the Assad regime planned it, orchestrated it, and executed it".
Without offering any evidence, Putin said Washington was planning a new missile launch, including near the capital, Damascus, after faking chemical weapons attacks there.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia has information that the United States is planning to launch new missile strikes on Syria, and that there were plans for the USA to fake chemical weapons attacks there.
Lavrov said Russian Federation thinks there is no need for a U.N. Security Council resolution on the attack until the U.N. chemical weapons watchdog has completed an objective probe.
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World leaders, including President Trump, immediately accused Assad of using chemical weapons against his own people, again, in violation of global accords. Both Washington and Moscow, Tillerson said, want a "unified and stable" Syria, so the country does not become a "safe haven" for terrorists.
His comments came after US President Donald Trump said Mr Putin was backing an "evil person" in Assad, as talks took place in Russian Federation between the countries' chief diplomats. While the Republican president himself has stayed largely quiet about Russia's role, his aides have slammed Moscow repeatedly in the days since.
The Syrian regime and its backers, including Russian Federation, have denied Mr Assad was responsible. "Or would Russian Federation prefer to realign with the United States, with other Western countries and Middle East countries that are seeking to resolve the Syrian crisis?"
But the Trump administration has dismissed that theory.
"I trust he regrets it now considering the damage done to his air force but when I say he should think long and hard about it, I'll just let the mission speak for itself on that score", the Defence Secretary said. The U.S. also accused Russian Federation of mounting a disinformation campaign aimed at exonerating Assad.
United Nations investigators already have the mandate under previous resolutions to look into allegations of chemical weapons use but the council wants to underscore its support for a thorough investigation in the Khan Sheikhun case.
"We are certain that the opposition could not have fabricated all of the videos and other reporting of chemical attacks", the report reads. But the attack in Idlib province is believed to involve sarin, which was supposed to have been removed. After delivering those scripted remarks, the president retreated from public discussion of the attack, while his aides tried to explain how this strike fits with Trump's "America First" doctrine and campaign pledge not to get involved with conflicts in other countries. G7 ministers, in the face of conflicting signals on USA policy towards Syria and Russian Federation, appear to have chosen to postpone any big decision until after those talks.
His comments came as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Moscow for meetings with Russian leaders.
Meeting allies earlier Tuesday in Italy, Tillerson delivered an ultimatum to Russia: Side either with the US and its dozens of coalition partners or face the isolation of a partnership with Assad, Iran and Hezbollah.