The United States is not ruling out the use of military force in Syria in response to a recent poison gas attack in a rebel-held town, James Mattis, the US defence secretary, has said.
His comments on Monday came hours before the United Nations Security Council was due to discuss (19:00 GMT) Saturday’s deadly attack in Doumaamid growing international outrage.
“The first thing we have to look at is why are chemical weapons still being used at all when Russia was the framework guarantor of removing all the chemical weapons,” Mattis said before the start of a meeting at the Pentagon with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“Working with our allies and our partners from NATO to Qatar and elsewhere, we are going to address this issue,” said Mattis.
When asked if he could rule out taking action such as launching air raids against al-Assad’s forces, Mattis replied: “I don’t rule out anything right now.”