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DEFEATING DAESH STILL US PRIORITY IN SYRIA: PENTAGON CHIEF

WASHINGTON, April 12 (NNN-Xinhua) -- The US is still focused on defeating Daesh in Syria, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday, days after US missile strikes on a Syria airbase.

"Our military policy in Syria has not changed. Our priority remains the

defeat of ISIS (IS-Daesh). Daesh represents a clear and present danger, an

immediate threat to Europe and ultimately, a threat to the US homeland," Mattis

said at his first Pentagon news conference as defence chief.

The United States on Thursday launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian

airbase, claiming its military action was meant to neutralise Syria's chemical

weapon arsenal, two days after reports of a chemical weapons attack emerged from

the battleground in Syria.

While the West said the Syrian government should be to blame, Damascus

denied that.

The Russian government has condemned the missile strikes by the United

States, calling Washington's move "aggression against a sovereign state in

violation of international law."

Mattis said the military action demonstrates the United States would not

passively stand by while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "blithely ignores

international law and employs chemical weapons he had declared destroyed."

Mattis also warned that if Syria were to use chemical weapons again, it

would "pay a very, very stiff price."

"The Syrian regime should think long and hard before it again acts so

recklessly in violations to international law against the use of chemical

weapon," the Pentagon chief said. -- NNN-XINHUA

Source: NAM News Network