Trump Unhappy With Military Options on Syria, Seeks Broader Offensive

Having second thoughts? Mattis says US ‘still assessing intelligence’ on alleged Syria attack

Watch Trump announcing the strikes here. But there is an effort to calibrate the response, even as Trump is pressing his team to act. He says a "combined operation" with France and the United Kingdom is underway.

President Donald Trump is able to take care of the nation Friday evening time amid anticipation of a retaliatory strike for an apparent Syrian chemical weapon assault closing week.

General Joe Dunford, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the USA chose targets to avoid hitting Russian forces. "Because we have seen that red lines that go unenforced just encourage further provocative action by Assad", he told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday. "It is to drive this to a United Nations brokered peace, but at the same time, keep our foot on the neck of ISIS until we suffocate it", Mattis said during the meeting, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

"On a strategic level, it's how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that", he said. "Let's remember what happened a year ago, and that was very effective and he if loses the reputation we lost for eight years under Obama, we're going to lose that position as leader of the free world". "The president has not made that decision".

The last target was a military command post and chemical weapons storage facility.

Haley told reporters those claims were absurd.

"We will not know who did it. Russian Federation can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover ups", she said.

Asked about concerns in planning a strike on Assad's regime, Mattis cited worry over inadvertently causing civilian casualties and avoiding anything that would trigger a wider war. We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. During Thursday's meeting at the White House, Mattis advised Trump to wait for more definitive proof before ordering strikes.

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"The only communications that took place specifically associated with this operation before the targets were struck was the normal de-confliction of the airspace, the procedures that are in place for all of our operations in Syria", he said. The organization said they were due to arrive on Saturday.

He also condemned the recent chemical attack by the Syrian state in the suburb of Douma. Those weapons included chlorine and possible sarin gas.

Mattis, in some of his strongest comments on Syria to date, said he had been convinced of a chemical attack in Syria.

A new task force chartered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to enhance the lethality and survivability of infantry squads is charged not only with developing and purchasing new equipment, but with revolutionizing training, doctrine and personnel policies. The Russians and Iranians have also been preparing for an American response, and the Trump administration's delay in acting is giving Syria and its allies more time to prepare.

Speaking from the White House, Trump says, "To Iran and to Russian Federation, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?" He said Friday that he saw that evidence only on Thursday.

The Pentagon chief and other top security officials were due to head to the National Security Council later Thursday, where he said he would present "various options to the president". "We have to make some further decisions".

Trump's new national security adviser John Bolton has been ever-present in the deliberations, U.S. officials said. But Mattis added that there was no reports of losses to the United States.

Although Syria's military had moved aircraft and other military assets in the days preceding Friday's strike, Dunford said he did not believe it had moved chemical weapons materials.

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