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Israel's President Reuven Rivlin, right, shakes hands with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis as he welcomes him in Jerusalem, Friday, April 21, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst, Reuters Pool via AP)

Sec. Mattis said he has 'no doubt' Syria still has chemical weapons


Syria still possesses chemical weapons, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday during his trip to Israel.

At a news conference in Tel Aviv, Mattis also said that in recent days the Syrian Air Force has dispersed its combat aircraft.

"There can be no doubt in the international community's mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all," he said.

I can say authoritatively they have retained some.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke alongside Mattis, confirming Syrian forces "have retained some, it's a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and it's going to have to be taken up diplomatically and they would be ill advised to try to use any again, we made that very clear with our strike."

Israeli defense officials said this week that Syria still has up to three tons of chemical weapons in its possession. It was the first specific intelligence assessment of President Bashar Assad's weapons capabilities since a deadly chemical attack earlier this month.

--The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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