- Friday, April 21, 2017 2:21 PM
Tel Aviv, 21 April 2017 (MIA) - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that Syria had dispersed its warplanes in recent days and that it retained chemical weapons, an issue he said would have to be taken up diplomatically, Reuters reported.
The United States launched dozens of missiles earlier this month against a Syrian air base in response to a chemical attack that killed 90 people, including 30 children. It says the Syrian government launched the attack from the Shayrat air base.
The Pentagon has said that the strike had damaged or destroyed about 20 percent of the Syrian military's operational aircraft.
During a press conference alongside his Israeli counterpart, Mattis was asked whether the Syrian military had moved warplanes to a Russian base in Latakia.
"They have dispersed their aircraft, no doubt. They have dispersed their aircraft in recent days," Mattis said.
Mattis also reiterated that the United States believed Syria had retained some chemical weapons.
"The bottom line is, I can say authoritatively they have retained some (chemical weapons). It's a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, and it's going to have to be taken up diplomatically," Mattis said.
Israel's military said on Wednesday it believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces still possess several tonnes of chemical weapons.
A senior Israeli military officer told Israeli reporters that "a few tonnes of chemical weapons" remained in the hands of Assad's forces, a military official told Reuters.
In a 2013 agreement brokered by Russia and the United States, Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons, a global watchdog, said sarin or a similar banned toxin was used in the April 4 strike in Syria's Idlib province.
Mattis later met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Before the start of their talks, Netanyahu said he was optimistic about relations between the two countries under the new U.S. administration.
The two countries are working to set a more positive tone after eight years of friction under President Donald Trump's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama. ba/14:21
All Rights Reserved.This material may not be stored, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form, except with the prior express permission of Macedonian Information Agency.
- 11:26 AM | Another five arrested for Sela attack in Parliament
The Skopje prosecutor's office has detained another five individuals for the attack on MP Zijadin Se...
- 11:13 AM | Parliament composition to change after local elections
Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi will inform MPs at the first session after the local elections that...
- 9:15 AM | LE2017/ October 29 runoff in 35 municipalities
A mayoral runoff will be held in 35 municipalities on October 29.
- 9:09 AM | UNFPA to launch 2017 State of World Population report
The Office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is to launch Tuesday its 2017 State of Worl...
- 8:54 AM | U.S. official says not ruling out eventual direct talks with North Korea
The United States is not ruling out the eventual possibility of direct talks with North Korea, Deput...