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Pentagon will notify the Congress if it decides to strike Syria

UNITED STATES (NEWS OBSERVATORY) – US President Donald Trump has not yet made a final decision regarding a possible attack on Syria. If this happens, US lawmakers will be warned in advance.

This was stated on Thursday at a hearing in the committee of the House of Representatives for Armed Forces on the budget request of the Ministry of Defense in 2019 fiscal year, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

“As for our current situation, if, as last time, we decide to undertake military actions in connection with this chemistry, then, just like last time, just over a year ago, we we will notify the Congress, “he said.

Further, Mattis said that “of course, before the attack, the leaders of [the US Congress] will be notified, but we will provide a full report to the Congress itself as soon as possible.”

The head of the Pentagon refused to explain whether participation of Washington’s allies in this possible operation is a necessary condition for holding it.

He confined himself to the following answer: “The strategy is to interact with allies in everything. I can not discuss the current situation.”

Asked what worries him most about a possible attack on Syria, Mattis replied: “There are fears of a tactical nature, we do not want civilians to die, we will do everything possible to avoid this.”

“At the strategic level, this is preventing the escalation and the emergence of the situation out of control,” he added.

Mattis believes that the chemical attack in the Syrian city of Dumas took place. However, as he stated at the hearings on the House Committee on Armed Services, Washington is looking for evidence.

“I believe that the chemical attack was and now we are collecting evidence,” he said, noting that the experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] on the spot “can only say whether they have found evidence of application or not.”

“But, since it is a rapidly dissipating gas, it becomes more difficult to confirm this with time,” he said.

During his speech, he also made statements that Russia and Syria “are trying to prevent inspectors,” and expressed the hope that the “Syrian regime will allow them” to be on the site of the alleged attack.

Earlier, it was Russia and Syria who suggested that the OPCW be sent to the place of its specialists, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced his readiness to provide them with security guarantees.