(CNSNews.com) - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at a press briefing last night after the U.S. attack in Syria that “these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime.”
"I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime,” Mattis said. “In conducting these strikes we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties.”
“President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations in consonance with our allies to destroy the Syrian regime's chemical weapons research development and production capability,” Mattis said.
At the same briefing, Gen. Joseph Dunford indicated there were three facilities that the U.S. and its British and French allies targeted.
“The targets that were struck and destroyed were specifically associated with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program,” said Dunford. “We also selected targets that would minimize the risk to innocent civilians.
“The first target was a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area,” said Dunford. “This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology.
“The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs,” said Dunford. “We assessed that this was the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment.
“The third target, which was in the vicinity of the second target, contained both a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and an important command post,” said Dunford.
Dunford stressed that there was a specific effort made to avoid targets associated with Russia.
“But with regard to the Russian concerns, we specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved, and we used our normal deconfliction channels -- those were active this week -- to work through the airspace issue and so forth,” he said.
“We did do not do any coordination with the Russians on the strikes, nor did we pre-notify them,” he said.