United States 'not increasing' role in Syrian civil war: James Mattis

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis stressed on Friday that the United States is not getting more involved in Syria's civil war after the US-led coalition struck a pro-regime convoy heading towards a remote coalition garrison.

File image of Defence Secretary James Mattis. AP

File image of Defence Secretary James Mattis. AP

"We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops," Mattis said.

"We will defend ourselves (if) people take aggressive steps against us. And that's been a going-in policy of ours for a long time."

Venezuela turning into another Syria?

On Thursday, US president Donald Trump had called the situation in Venezuela a "disgrace to humanity" and had said that the deadly political crisis was possibly the worst of its kind in "decades."

"We haven't really seen a problem like that... in decades, in terms of the kind of violence that we're witnessing," Trump told a joint press conference on Thursday, with visiting Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.

Trump's comments came a day after the Venezuelan government announced it was sending more than 2,500 troops to a trouble-hit region on the border with Colombia to try to quell weeks of violence that claimed 43 lives in Venezuela.

Updated Date: May 19, 2017 07:20 AM

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