Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the campaign against the Islamic State group is still the main focus of the U.S. in Syria and remains on track.
He says the Syrian regime should “think long and hard” before making such a reckless attack again. He says the U.S. can’t get involved in Syria’s civil war, but couldn’t allow the use of chemical weapons.
More than 80 civilians were killed in the attack.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says U.S.-Russian tensions over Syria “will not spiral out of control.”
Mattis says the U.S. and Russia are maintaining military and diplomatic communications.
He noted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Moscow Tuesday.
Mattis says Russia acts in its interests.
And he says there is no Russian interest in allowing the current disagreements over Syria to lead to a broader confrontation.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says only Syrian President Bashar Assad knows why he used chemical weapons.
Mattis says he trusts Assad regrets last week’s chemical weapons attack, given the U.S. retaliatory strikes.
The Pentagon says the cruise missiles it launched at Syrian air base destroyed a fifth of Assad’s functioning, fixed-wing combat aircraft.
Mattis criticized Assad for using chemical weapons several times over the last several years.
Spicer said the feeling was widespread that the attack was “horrific” and “required action.”
U.S. Senator John McCain says stopping Syrian President Bashar Assad’s “murderous rampage” does not preclude America from fighting the Islamic State group.
At a press conference in Sarajevo, the Republican senator said the U.S. “is the most powerful nation on earth” and “can do both at the same time.”
McCain said Assad is “a war criminal and must go.” He said the “needless and senseless slaughter of innocent men, women and children is an obligation for all of us,” including Russia, to stop.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says Washington’s accusations against the Syrian government over a chemical attack resemble the claims made before the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003.
He says the U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian air base following accusations that Syria’s government’s used chemical weapons that killed dozens of people last week “strongly resembles the developments of 2003.”
Putin added that some in the West are using Syria to cast Russia as a “common enemy.”
Russia has argued that civilians in Khan Sheikhoun were exposed to toxic agents from a militants’ arsenal hit by a Syrian air strike. Putin says militants are preparing more “provocations” to blame Damascus.
A grass fire that broke out next to the Moscow airport where U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was due to arrive has been extinguished.
Live footage from the scene showed tall clouds of black smoke billowing just over the tarmac.
Tillerson is in Moscow to meet with Russian officials about the civil war in Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has arrived in Moscow to meet with Russian officials about the Syria civil war.
Russia has been incensed by U.S. allegations of complicity in Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons. The U.S. increased the pressure Monday when a senior official said the U.S. has made a preliminary conclusion that Russia knew in advance of Syria’s chemical weapons attack last week.
Tillerson plans to meet Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. It’s unclear whether he will also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia’s General Staff says the Syrian government is willing to let international experts to examine its military base for signs of chemical weapons.
The United States on Friday carry out an airstrike on the Shayrat air base which is believed to have been used for last week’s chemical weapons attack in the Idlib province.
Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian General Staff said in televised remarks on Tuesday that the Syrian government is ready to let international experts to examine the base and that Russia will provide security for them.
Moscow has dismissed suggestions that the Syrian government that it backs could be behind the attack in Idlib province.
Putin also said Russia has received intelligence about planned “provocations” using chemical weapons that would put the blame on the Syrian government.
Russia has defended Bashar Assad’s government which has been accused of launching a chemical weapons attack on the Idlib province.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is to meet U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday.
Russia’s foreign ministry says it hopes for “productive talks” with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as Tillerson heads to Moscow in his first visit to Russia as the top U.S. diplomat.
The ministry said in a three-page statement issued ahead of Tillerson’s arrival later on Tuesday that the outcome of the talks is important not only for the Russia-U.S. ties but “for the overall atmosphere on the world stage.”
Tillerson is traveling to Russia several days after a chemical attack in Syria and a U.S. air strike on a Syrian government base that Moscow on Tuesday dismissed as “an act of aggression.” Moscow is a staunch ally of President Bashar Assad whom the United States blamed for the chemical attack.
Tillerson said Tuesday that Russia must choose between aligning itself with the U.S. or with Assad and Iran.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia must choose between aligning itself with the U.S. and likeminded countries or embracing Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iran and the militant group Hezbollah.
Tillerson says it’s unclear whether Russia failed to take seriously its obligations in Syria or has been incompetent. But he says that distinction “doesn’t much matter to the dead.”
He says of the recent chemical attack: “We cannot let this happen again.”
Tillerson says the U.S. sees no future role for Assad in Syria, but he says the U.S. isn’t pre-supposing how Assad’s departure will occur.
Tillerson traveled Tuesday to Moscow. He says Russia can play a role in Syria’s future but that aligning with Assad won’t serve Russia’s long-term interests.
The entry timed 8:50 a.m. has been corrected to say that Tillerson is meeting Lavrov on Wednesday, not Putin.