TEL AVIV — The Syrian government has retained an unspecified amount of chemical weapons and dispersed its aircraft following a U.S. cruise missile attack earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Friday.
Mattis spoke alongside his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, as part of a tour of the Middle East, and addressed reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still had a significant amount of chemical weapons.
“There can be no doubt in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all. There is no longer any doubt,” he told reporters.
Mattis did not provide any evidence to back up his claim.
On April 7, the U.S. launched dozens of cruise missiles at Shayrat airbase in Syria in response to a chemical weapon attack on Idlib province that happened three days earlier and killed nearly 100 people including 30 children.
U.S. officials said the Syrian aircraft that conducted the attack took off from Shayrat airfield.