Shortly after news broke Friday night of airstrikes taken by the U.S., U.K., and France on Syria, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and General Joseph Dunford held a press conference confirming that the targets of Friday night’s airstrikes were “specifically associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.”
Less than one hour after President Donald Trump addressed the nation, informing them of the airstrikes, the two men delivered brief comments and took a few questions from the assembled press.
Watch General Dunford’s comments below:
When speaking of the specific targets, Dunford said that one target was a “scientific research center,” another was a “chemical weapons storage facility,” and a third was “an important command post.”
The two men also confirmed that U.S., U.K., and French naval and air forces were involved in the strike, which, as of 10 p.m. ET, were reported to be concluded.
“Important infrastructure was destroyed which will result in a setback for the Syrian regime and lose years of research and development data, specialized equipment and expensive chemical weapons precursors,” Dunford said.
“The strike was not only a strong message to the regime that their actions were inexcusable, but it also inflicted maximum damage without unnecessary risk to innocent civilians,” he continued.
Dunford confirmed that the specific targets were chosen based on the fact that they provided the least threat of civilian casualty and collateral damage and were “specifically associated with the chemical weapons program.” He also confirmed that aircraft were manned.
Secretary Mattis remarked that Friday night’s strike, while similar to one conducted just about a year ago, used “over double the norm of weapons.” He claimed that this was done in an attempt to cripple Assad’s nuclear weapons program.
At the end of the presser, the secretary warned of a possible “disinformation campaign” from those aligned with the Assad regime.
He assured those assembled that he and his staff would be doing their best to remain transparent and provide as much information to the press as they could.