US Won't Engage In Syrian Civil War - Mattis

Last update: 09/02/2018

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Bernama) -- Defence Secretary James Mattis said Thursday that the United States (US) is not "getting engaged in the Syrian civil war, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

"It was self defence. Obviously, we are not getting engaged in the Syrian civil war," Mattis told reporters at a briefing at the Pentagon.

The comments by Mattis came on the heel of deadly US-led coalition air strikes which killed some 100 pro-Syrian government forces.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said earlier on Thursday, that US-led coalition struck pro-Syrian government forces in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zour on Wednesday.

The coalition's move was in retaliation for the pro-Syrian government forces' targeting of the US-backed forces in the area, said the SDF.

Calling the attack a "perplexing situation," Mattis said he could not give any explanation why they would shell the SDF headquarters with artillery.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Thursday strongly condemned the US-led air strikes, accusing the US war planes of "committing a massacre" against pro-government forces.

"Pro-government Syrian fighters are confronting Daesh militants "who are under the protection" of the US-led coalition and the allied forces of the SDF," it added.

The Syrian government urged the UN Security Council to condemn the 'massacre' and to hold the US-led coalition responsible for their 'crimes and aggression'.