Stars and Stripes: Mattis Rejects Mission Creep in Syria as New Chemical Weapons Threat Alleged

The Pentagon has reported “active handling of chemical weapons” at a Syrian airbase, where chemical weapons were launched in April, and the White House warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would “pay a very heavy price” if the weapons were used. The US ambassador to the United Nations added “The goal at this point not just to send Assad a message, but to send Russia and Iran a message." US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is focused on defeating the Islamic State as diverse fighters descend about Raqqa, the capital designated by the terrorist group. Mattis insists the United States must avoid involvement in the Syrian war, reports Tara Copp for Stars and Stripes, an independent news source for the US military. “The charges and countercharges came as tensions between U.S.-backed opposition forces and pro-government units have escalated in southern Syria, where the United States maintains a base to train Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State,” she reports. To avoid conflicts with Iran or Russia, “the United States has relied upon no-combat zones and several lines of communication with Moscow.” The United States is relying on careful communications to avoid contact with Iranian, Kurdish, Russian, Syrian, Hezbollah forces. Syrian officials deny that plans for a chemical attack are underway. – YaleGlobal

Stars and Stripes: Mattis Rejects Mission Creep in Syria as New Chemical Weapons Threat Alleged

As fighters from multiple nations descend upon Raqqa, the Islamic State's capital, the US warns that Syria may be preparing for another chemical attack
Tara Copp
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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Tara Copp is a Pentagon correspondent for Stars and Stripes. She previously covered DOD for the Washington Examiner, Jane’s Defense Weekly and Scripps Howard News Service. She was a senior defense analyst for seven years at the GAO and worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar in that capacity. Prior to that, she was one of the initial embedded reporters in Iraq in 2003.

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