(CNSNews.com) - Defense Secretary James Mattis indicated at a press briefing held last night after the U.S. military strikes in Syria that the U.S. was only targeting Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and was not trying to kill Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.
Mattis gave this indication in response to a question from a reporter who asked Gen. Joseph Dunford if the Russians engaged U.S., British or French ships or missiles and Secretary Mattis if any of the allied strikes were intended to kill Assad.
“Secretary Mattis, were any of the strikes tonight intended to kill Bashar al Assad?” the reporter asked.
After Dunford answered the question about the Russians, saying he was “not aware of any Russian activity,” Mattis addressed the question about Assad.
He did not give a direct yes-no answer, but did effectively respond by stating what the U.S. targets were.
“Yeah, the targets tonight, again, were specifically designed to degrade the Syrian war machine's ability to create chemical weapons, and to set that back right now,” said Mattis. “There were no attempts to broaden or expand that target set.”
Earlier in the briefing Gen. Dunford had explained that the U.S. targeted three facilities associated with Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.