US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the US military’s policy in Syria has not changed and emphasized that its priority is the defeat of the Islamic State militant group.
Speaking at his first news conference since last week’s US missile attack on a Syrian airbase,Mattis said Washington had determined that a measured military response could best deter the Syrian regime from using chemical weapons again. He warned that Syria will pay a very stiff price for any future use of chemical weapons.
Syria denies involvement in the chemical weapons attack on an opposition-held territory that killed at least 72 people. Russia, which backs Syria, has criticized the US missile attack.