US Defense Sec’y Mattis: Syria still has chemical weapons

FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as he leaves Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Trump said at a rally on Dec. 1, that he will nominate Mattis as defense secretary. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Syria still possesses banned chemical weapons.

At a news conference in Tel Aviv, Mattis also said that in recent days the Syrian Air Force has dispersed its combat aircraft. The implication is that Syria may be concerned about additional U.S. strikes following the cruise missile attack earlier this month in retaliation for alleged Syrian use of sarin gas.

Mattis spoke alongside Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Later Mattis was meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lieberman declined to comment on news reports that Israel believes Syria still holds between one ton and three tons of chemical weapons.

 

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