Europe

US Defense Sec'y Mattis: Syria still has chemical weapons

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center, accompanied by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, second right, is greeted by an Israeli military officer at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, April 21, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center, accompanied by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, second right, is greeted by an Israeli military officer at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, April 21, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, third from bottom at right, are seated with their delegates for a meeting at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, April 21, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, third from bottom at right, are seated with their delegates for a meeting at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, April 21, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, second right, shows the way to U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center, before inspecting an honor cordon in his office at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, April 21, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

    Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, second right, shows the way to U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center, before inspecting an honor cordon in his office at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, April 21, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Syria still possesses banned chemical weapons.

At a news conference in Tel Aviv, Mattis also said that in recent days the Syrian Air Force has dispersed its combat aircraft. The implication is that Syria may be concerned about additional U.S. strikes following the cruise missile attack earlier this month in retaliation for alleged Syrian use of sarin gas.

Mattis spoke alongside Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Later Mattis was meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lieberman declined to comment on news reports that Israel believes Syria still holds between one ton and three tons of chemical weapons.