At his first press briefing earlier today, Secretary of Defense James Mattis looked to quickly quash doubts over which party was responsible for the recent Sarin gas attacks in Syria saying there was "no doubt" that the Assad regime "planned in, orchestrated it and executed it" and offered a stern warning that their would be a "very very stiff price" to be paid if further chemical attacks were launched in the future.
Mattis went on to say that while the recent U.S. bombings should not be interpreted as a "harbinger of a strategy change" in the region he did offer a warning to Assad that he should "think long and hard" before considering similar attacks in the future.
With regards to a potential Russian response, Mattis said simply that he's "confident the Russians will act in their own best interests, and there's nothing in their best interests to say they want this situation to go out of control."
Meanwhile the key takeaway from the press briefing seemed to be the following comment from Mattis:
"I just want to say very clearly, that the use of chemical weapons, contrary to the Geneva Convention that Syria has signed up for, using chemical weapons that Syria agreed under U.N. pressure to remove from their arsenal, those chemical weapons that the Russians certified were gone, that if they use chemical weapons they are going to pay a very very stiff price."
Other key comments below:
- MATTIS: `OUR PRIORITY REMAINS THE DEFEAT' OF ISLAMIC STATE
- MATTIS: ATTACK WAS `SINGULAR' RESPONSE ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS
- MATTIS: SYRIA STRIKE WASN'T `HARBINGER' OF STRATEGY CHANGE
- MATTIS: IT'S VERY CLEAR THE ASSAD REGIME PLANNED IT, ORCHESTRATED IT AND EXECUTED IT
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As tensions around the globe continue to mount over the Trump administration's official policies related to Syria and North Korea, Secretary of Defense James Mattis will take the podium momentarily to offer his first press briefing.
Watch live below: