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Mattis: US hit Syria ‘harder’ because ‘clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year’

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DCNFRyan Pickrell, DCNF

U.S.-led coalition strikes devastated targets across Syria Friday evening to ensure the Syrian regime understands the international community will not tolerate illegal use of chemical weapons.

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“Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message [in 2017]. This year, the U.S. and our allies have struck harder,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis revealed at a Pentagon press briefing Friday night. The U.S., together with Britain and France, hit Syrian targets with double the weapons used in the Tomahawk cruise missile strike on Syria last April, Mattis explained.

The targets were specifically selected “to degrade the Syrian war machines ability to create chemical weapons,” the secretary further explained.

Targets in the attack included a scientific research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage center west of Homs, and a command and control area near the second major target. The targets were chosen specifically to cripple Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities. Steps were taken to limit civilian casualties and unnecessary collateral damage.

“Last year we conducted a unilateral strike on a single site,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford revealed to reporters at the Department of Defense. “This evening, we conducted strikes with two allies on multiple sites.”

The strikes are expected to lead to the “long-term degradation” of Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, as the American-led attack is believed to have obliterated essential data, equipment and stockpiles.

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