WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday he would not rule out "anything" after this weekend's suspected chemical attack in Syria triggered speculation about a US military response and he piled blame on Russia for falling short on its obligations to ensure that Syria abandoned its chemical weapons capabilities.
"The first thing we have to look at is why are chemical weapons still being used at all when Russia was the framework guarantor of removing all the chemical weapons. And so, working with our allies and our partners from NATO to Qatar and elsewhere, we are going to address this issue," Mattis said before the start of a meeting with Qatar's Emir. Mattis had been asked if the US was capable of striking President Syrian President Bashar Assad's chemical weapons facilities.
When asked if he could rule out taking actions, like launching airstrikes against Assad, Mattis said: "I don’t rule out anything right now."