Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes shift in U.S. policy, ahead of a private meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis met on Friday (April 21) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss regional threats and opportunities, the two leaders told reporters in Jerusalem. In a news conference with Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman earlier on Friday, Mattis told reporters that Syria had dispersed its warplanes in recent days and retained chemical weapons, an issue that would have to be taken up diplomatically. The United States launched dozens of missiles earlier this month against a Syrian air base in response to a chemical attack that killed 90 people, including 30 children. It says the Syrian government launched the attack from the Shayrat air base. The Pentagon has said that the strike had damaged or destroyed about 20 percent of the Syrian military's operational aircraft. Israel's military said on Wednesday (April 19) it believed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces still possessed several tonnes of chemical weapons. In a 2013 agreement brokered by Russia and the United States, Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons, a global watchdog, said sarin or a similar banned toxin was used in the April 4 strike in Syria's Idlib province.