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Mattis says US hasn't ruled out military action against Assad

The US has not ruled out launching airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in response to the ...

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 9:06 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2018 9:06 PM

The US has not ruled out launching airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in response to the weekend's suspected chemical gas attack on civilians, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Monday.

"I don't rule out anything right now," Mattis said while hosting Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, at the Pentagon.

"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 chemical weapons, and so working with our allies and partners from NATO to Qatar and elsewhere we are going to address this issue," Mattis continued.

President Donald Trump strongly condemned the "atrocious" chemical weapons attack in Syria during a Cabinet meeting at the White House Monday and said a decision on US action would be made over the next 24-48 hours.

"I'd like to begin by condemning the heinous attack on innocent Syrians with banned chemical weapons," he said. "It was an atrocious attack, it was horrible, you don't see things like that as bad as the news is around the world, you just don't see those images."

"We are very concerned, when a thing like that can happen, this is about humanity. We're talking about humanity. And it can't be allowed to happen," he added.

Asked if US military action is off the table in response to the chemical weapons attack, Trump told reporters it's not.

"Nothing's off the table," he said, shortly after noting that major decisions would be made in the next day or two.

Trump also expressed frustration at investigators not being able to get immediate answers about who was behind the attack.

"So if it's Russia, if it's Syria, if it's Iran, if it's all of them together we'll figure it out and we'll know the answers quite soon," the President said.

Asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin bears responsibility for the attack, Trump said he may and, if so, Putin will pay a price.

"He may, yeah, he may, and if he does, it's gonna be very tough. Very tough," the President said.

"Everybody's gonna pay a price, he will and everybody will," Trump said.

National Security Council principals are holding a "small group" meeting to discuss Syria on Monday, led by John Bolton on his first official day as White House national security adviser, two administration officials told CNN.

A small group meeting is typically held to discuss options for the President, one of the officials said. Trump is not participating in the meeting according to a senior administration official.

Syrian activist groups on Saturday said toxic gas inside barrel bombs dropped from helicopters over a rebel-held city in Syria killed dozens of civilians and wounded scores more. Syrian state news said an "official source" denied the allegations.

Trump on Sunday warned Syria and its two closest allies, Russia and Iran, of a "big price to pay" following the attack, and slammed Assad as an "animal" on Twitter.

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria," Trump tweeted. "Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price..."

He continued, "....to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 156868

Reported Deaths: 3851
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
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Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
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