'US Defense Secretary James Mattis has warned the Syrian government against using chemical weapons implying it would prompt military consequences, as it did last year when US President Donald Trump ordered a strike on a Syrian air base.
"I just want to reiterate it would be very unwise for them to use weaponized gas," Mattis told reporters while en route to Oman. "And I think President Trump made that very clear early in his administration."
Speaking to reporters travelling with him on a trip to Oman, Mattis admitted he has no evidence to back up his statements. The Pentagon chief said there are many reports about Chlorine use or symptoms that could be a result of the gas.
United Nations experts are investigating reports of chlorine gas being used against civilians.
The US has been unable to verify the reports, but Mattis claimed they appeared to be credible and warranted concern. “We have made it very clear that it would be very unwise to use gas against people, civilians, on any battlefield,” he said on a military jet heading for Oman on Sunday.
“The president has full political maneuver room to take the decision that he believes appropriate.”
Syria's deputy foreign minister has denied charges that Syrian government forces used toxic arms in their operation against terrorist groups in Damascus’ countryside. Faisal Mekdad says terrorists in eastern Ghouta are preparing to fabricate more such attacks to blame the Syrian army.'
Read more: Mattis warns Syria and Russia on chemical weapons deployment
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