Full Transcript: Briefing By Secretary Mattis On U.S. Strikes In Syria – The Pavlovic Today, 2018/04/14
At 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, French, British and U.S. forces struck targets in Syria in support of President Trump’s objective to deter the future use of chemical weapons. Our forces were integrated throughout the planning and execution of the operation.
The targets that were struck and destroyed were specifically associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program. We also selected targets that would minimize the risk to innocent civilians.
The first target was a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area. This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology.
The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs. We assessed that this was the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment.
The third target, which was in the vicinity of the second target, contained both a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and an important command post.
Before we take questions, I’d like to address how this evening’s strike were qualitatively and quantitatively different than 2017. Last year we conducted a unilateral strike on a single site. The focus was on the aircraft associated with the Syrian chemical weapons attack in April of 2017.
This evening we conducted strikes with two allies on multiple sites that will result in a long-term degradation of Syria’s capability to research, develop and employ chemical and biological weapons. Important infrastructure was destroyed, which will result in a setback for the Syrian regime. They will lose years of research and development data, specialized equipment and expensive chemical weapons precursors.
The strike was not only a strong message to the regime that their actions were inexcusable, but it also inflicted maximum damage, without unnecessary risk to innocent civilians.