Bu Vaughn Hoisington | United States
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters despite “reports from the battlefield from people who claim [sarin gas has] been used… We do not have evidence of it.”
“We’re looking for evidence of it,” said Mattis to make it clear that he was not attempting to contradict former U.S. statements about the Syrian Government using chemical weapons.
The Defense Secretary stated that Bashar al-Assad’s army had weaponized chlorine gas during the Syrian Civil War, and expressed his concern for the possibility of the Syrian Government utilizing sarin gas, a highly toxic weapon of mass destruction.
The belief that Assad had used sarin gas on his own citizens resulted in Trump’s decision to strike a Syrian airbase with tomahawk missiles, last year.
Assad has constantly refuted these claims and denied that any chemical weapons had been utilized by the Syrian Government.
Without direct evidence, Mattis acknowledged the use of open source reports by groups, fighters on the ground, and non-governmental organizations.
Some non-governmental organization that provides open source reports about Syria’s use of chemical weapons have been criticized for possible lack of impartiality.
The White Helmets, probably the most well known non-governmental organization to release reports on Syrian chemical weapon attacks, has had their impartiality questioned after the release of videos that appear to show White Helmet members working alongside jihadist fighters.
Based solely on videos provided by non-governmental organizations and accusations, officials like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have blamed the attacks entirely on Russia and Syria, despite admitting that he isn’t sure “who conducted the attacks.”
The Duran has called the United States “the loser in this situation,” due to mishandling of the conflict, since pinpointing the exact culprit with sufficient evidence can be challenging in an active war zone.
Image from Politico.