Lavrov speaks to Tillerson about Syria chemical attack

The Syrian government has retained an unspecified amount of chemical weapons and dispersed its aircraft following a USA cruise missile attack earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Friday. Former President Barack Obama said the use of chemical weapons was a "red line", but did not order a strike on Syria following alleged uses of chemical weapons after he issued the statement.

Asked whether the Syrian military had moved its combat aircraft to a Russian base in Latakia, Mattis said: "They have dispersed their aircraft, no doubt".

Mattis stated that the global community is certain Assad has more chemical weapons but warned against their use.

Speaking in Tel Aviv alongside Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the US Secretary of Defense said Syria has chemical weapons and it wouldn't be wise to use them again, referring to the April 4 attack in the province of Idlib that killed at least 90 people.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, welcomes U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis in his offices in Jerusalem, Friday April 21, 2017.

The agreement was later enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution.

We review the key developments in Syria, as Russian Federation confirms the death of a high-ranking officer, the evacuation of four besieged towns resumes and the USA says Syria still has chemical weapons.

Prior to his visit, a United States defense official said that Mattis hopes to hear directly from Israeli leaders on their concerns and what they expect from the Trump administration.

According to the statement, Netanyahu said the "clear and forthright words" on Iran coming from Mattis and the "very strong and forthright words" and deeds on the part of Trump "is a welcome change, a strategic change of American leadership and American policy".

The world population articulated a sigh of relief when the newly elected U.S.President Donald Trumph expressed that he would change the American foreign policy of war mongering and acting as the world Policeman, establish cordial relationship with Russian Federation and China and give priority to national interests of the United States drifting away from Obama/Hillary Clinton policies.

- Reuters picAn Israeli military assessment has found that Assad's regime was still in possession of "a few tonnes" of chemical weapons, an army official confirmed.

Hezbollah and Iran, both bitter enemies of Israel, along with Russian Federation have sent forces to support Assad.

On Thursday in Geneva, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said the suicide attackers had disguised themselves as aid workers.

Iran's influence is at the top of the list for Israel, a worry shared by the United States.

Mattis' allegations against Syria came just a day after President Donald Trump charged Iran with failing to live up to the "spirit of the agreement" negotiated between Tehran and the major powers over Iran's nuclear power.

The ministry said the parties had agreed to launch a working group soon "to seek ways to get rid of irritants in bilateral relations". The nuclear deal "continues to be in force", he said.

  • Joanne Flowers