The regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria still possesses chemical weapons, the Pentagon chief said on Friday in a fresh US warning against the banned weapons.
The US Defense Secretary James Mattis said during a visit to Tel Aviv that in recent days the Syrian air force “has dispersed its combat aircraft.”
The Assad regime seems worried about renewed US airstrikes, after the cruise missile attack earlier in April.
“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,” Mattis said.
“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 they would be ill-advised to try to use any again, we made that very clear with our strike,” the US Defense Secretary said.
On April 4th, the Syrian Air Force hit the Khan Sheikhoun town in Idlib province with sarin nerve gas, killing at least 87 civilians.
Three days later, the US responded by firing a barrage of 59 cruise missiles at the regime-held Shayrat airbase in Homs.
Nine planes as well as munition and fuel depots were destroyed in the US strike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase early Friday, April 7th.
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