Haley, Mattis divided on evidence of Syria gas attack

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress on Thursday he believes there was a chemical attack in Syria, adding that the United States wants inspectors on the ground soon since the job of collecting evidence becomes more hard as time passed. While Mattis said that he believes Syrians used chemicals in an attack on Douma last Saturday, chemical weapons inspectors have not yet had access to the site.

"We have got to look at the use of chemical weapons, whether it be in Salisbury England or in Syria, as something that's inexcusable and it's got to be addressed, and Russian Federation prevents the United Nations from dealing with it, we can sit acquiescent, or we can do something about it".

Currently, the US and its allies "don't have evidence" that the Syrian regime carried out the attack last Saturday in the Damascus suburb of Douma that reportedly killed at least 40, Mattis said.

"Some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale and in the worst interest of not just the chemical weapons convention but of civilisation itself", Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee.

According to a report in Politico, Mattis has been pushing President Donald Trump and his advisors to look beyond the "spray and pray" approach of cruise missile attacks to consider what the U.S.is trying to achieve in Syria and whether it has a plan to achieve those aims.

Mattis, who was addressing a hearing of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, would not discuss the US military strategy process, but he did talk about the importance of defeating ISIS and protecting civilians in Syria. "We're still working on this", Mattis stated.

Trump earlier this week suggested that an attack was imminent.

"Everybody's gonna pay a price, he will and everybody will", Trump said.

But he suggested in another tweet early Thursday that there was no timeline for a USA response.

His comments came before he went to the White House Wednesday afternoon for a meeting on Syria. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

He said "We're looking very seriously at that situation". Where is our "Thank you America?" The decision concerning the responsive measures will be made within the next 24-48 hours.

"At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria", the statement said.

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