Several US officials confirmed that the Trump administration is looking into the possibility of mounting another military attack against the Syrian government over the alleged chemical weapons, in particular in an opposition-controlled Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta.
The officials gave controversial information on the position of the US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. One official said that Mattis attended a White House meeting where the military action against the Syrian government was discussed together with national security advised H.R. McMaster and Chief of Staff John F.Kelly. In turn, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White denied that Mattis participated in the discussion.
Another senior official said that Mattis was “adamantly” against military actions in response for the alleged chemical attacks.
Previously, the US exploited the pretext of chemical weapons use to attack Syrian Al-Shairat air base by firing almost 60 Tomahawk missiles.
In recent weeks, the US has accused the Syrian governmenr of using chlorine in opposition-held areas, especially in Eastern Ghouta. The Syrian government denies these accusations.
Eastern Ghouta has become the latest flashpoint in the Syrian conflict after the government forces launched a military campaign seeking to liberate the area from jihadi groups, including Jaysh al-Islam, Faylak al-Rahman and Tahrir al-Sham, a designated terror organisation excluded from the de-escalation zones agreement.
To ensure the security of civilians, the Syrian authorities have created a humanitarian corridor and introduced a daily ceasefire lasting from 9:00 to 14:00. During this period the local citizens will be able to safely exit the area and receive medical assistance at the centres created in co-operation with the Syrian Red Crescent Society.
Previously, the SAA began to evacuate civilians from Hazrama and Nashabiya neighbourhoods of Eastern Ghouta after they had been liberated from the militants. Several thousands people were able to leave the area via humanitarian corridors.
Despite the efforts of the Syrian government, the militants continued to hinder the evacuation process by shelling Damascus and preventing civilians from leaving the area.
On Thursday, several families trying to leave Eastern Ghouta have been detained by the militants near Al-Hal market in Douma district. It is believed that Jaysh al-Islam group, who controls Douma and the adjacent area, stands behind the detainment.