White House denies differences between Donald Trump and Defence Secretary James Mattis over air strikes on Syria

Washington: The White House on Thursday denied that secretary of defence James Mattis had advised US president Donald Trump against striking Syria before seeking Congress sanction.

"Reports that Secretary Mattis urged the president to seek congressional approval before last week's strikes in Syria are categorically false," a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

File image of Donald Trump and James Mattis. AP

File image of Donald Trump and James Mattis. AP

"As Secretary Mattis explained to Congress in Wednesday's all-member briefs, the president appropriately ordered the strikes under his constitutional authorities," the statement said.

The response came after the US media cited military and administration sources as saying that Mattis had urged Trump to seek Congressional approval before punishing Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons, Xinhua reported.

Trump, who was said to be eager to back up his fiery tweets against the Syrian government, then reportedly overruled Mattis.

The US, in coordination with the UK and France, fired a barrage of missiles against three targets in Syria that it alleged contained, manufactured or researched chemical weapons.

The attack was carried out without sanction from the United Nations Security Council in accordance with the UN charter, nor was it based on any findings from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a UN watchdog tasked to investigate alleged uses of chemical weapons in Syria.

The US, with its allies, said they have obtained evidence to support their claim, but has not yet released any of the evidence.

The attack came one year after US forces took out a Syrian government military airfield, which it said supported chemical attacks.


Updated Date: Apr 20, 2018 08:05 AM

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