A U.S. Marine fires an M777-A2 Howitzer in the early morning in Syria, June 3, 2017. They have been conducting 24-hour all-weather fire support for the Coalition’s local partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces, as part of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. CJTF-OIR is the global coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)
Coalition Forces launch a mortar toward a known ISIS position to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces in their military offensive to clear the Iraqi-Syrian border, May 13, 2018. The Coalition fired hundreds of mortar rounds within a few days in support of their SDF partners as they continued their effort to rid Syria of the final ISIS strongholds within the country. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Koster)
A 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-1B Lancer deployed to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing prepares to launch a strike mission from Al Udeid AIr Base, Qatar, April 13, in support of the multinational response to Syria’s recent use of chemical weapons. Two B-1Bs, deployed to Al Udeid AB from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., employed 19 Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER), marking the first combat employment of the weapon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)
U.S. FIFTH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (April 13, 2018) – The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 13. Monterey is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels)
Statement by Secretary James N. Mattis on Syria
Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.
On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents. We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable.
As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests. The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.
Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.
Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.
Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.
Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder. Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.
The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria. The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.
I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties.
But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.
In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.
General Dunford will provide a military update.
Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime. In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.
Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, fly above Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, March 25, 2018. The F-22, a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force, is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances and defeat threats attempting to deny access to our nation’s Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott)
A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor departs to continue a mission after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 447th Air Expeditionary Group over Syria, Dec. 1, 2017. The F-22 Raptor with a combination of sensor capabilities, integrated avionics, situational awareness, and weapons superiority secure the airspace during operations in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Paul Labbe)