The US is receiving criticism from it’s citizens and abroad, after it attacked the Syrian government on Wednesday, February 7th. Some have hailed the attack a show of might from President Trump, but others, specifically conservative senators have taken issue with this strike, and all of US involvement in Syria. Now, General “Mad Dog” Mattis, has gone on record to say that the US is still in search of evidence that shows the Syrian government is responsible for chemical attacks.
The Associated Press reported that Gen. Mattis, the US Secretary of Defense, has said that there is no evidence confirming reports that claimed the Syrian government of using sarin on its citizens. Although Gen. Mattis did not explicitly deny the reports, he explained to AP that the Department of Defense is still looking for evidence that President Bashar Assad, and the Syrian government, are responsible for the chemical attacks, that caused President Donald Trump to attack a Syrian Shayrat air base with several dozen Tomahawks bombs last April.
If there is missing evidence from the attacks, then it is not evident that the Syrian government was the perpetrator. Meaning, that there is a possibility that Assad has been falsely accused, and that the Department of Defense does not know what caused the 2017 tragedy in Khan Sheikhoun.
General Mattis also revealed that although aid groups in the area provided reports that individuals were hurt by chemical gas, they do not list Assad as the perpetrator. This is a huge revelation in the Syrian conflict, after the United States military has been pushing the narrative of Assad attacking his own citizens, which gave foundation and sympathy at home for US involvement.
This is not the first time that Assad was blamed for chemical attacks. Back in 2013, after an incident in Ghouta, the Obama administration claimed that Assad was using chemical attacks on his citizens, similarly to the claims in 2017. These claims are what led the US into the Syrian conflict. An independent UN led investigation could not identify who used the chemical weapons, instead saying that, “chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties.”
Furthermore, Newsweek reports that experts on chemical weapons disagree with America’s blaming on Assad, as the weapons and method of implementation is not consistent to state-sanctioned attacks.