The Jaish al-Islam group in Douma agreed on Sunday to withdraw, hours after a suspected chemical weapons attack on the town that has raised the prospect of US strikes.
"We're still assessing the intelligence, ourselves and our allies", Mattis said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said any strikes would "not target allies of the [Syrian] regime or attack anyone, but rather attack the regime's chemical capabilities".
Although Mattis noted that military action carried risks, he also emphasized that Syrian use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.
The President also insisted that the USA would not remain engaged in Syria forever under any circumstances. The 87-year-old former president compared the tensions to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and said he feels "great concern".
President Trump speaks during a meeting with senior military leaders at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
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"President Trump was quick to call out Assad today, along with the Russian and Iranian governments, on Twitter", McCain said.
Later Thursday he was noncommittal. "It's an attack on what we all stand for".
On Tuesday the UN Security Council failed to approve moves to set up an inquiry into the alleged attack on Douma.
Mohamed Khairullah, the Syrian-born mayor of Prospect Park, was glad to hear Trump's announcement but said that hitting chemical weapons facilities did not go far enough.
The Russian military said on Wednesday it had observed movements of U.S. navy forces in the Gulf. A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the U.S.in the lead, could send a message of worldwide unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons. Pentagon officials said the attacks targeted the heart of Assad's programs to develop and produce chemical weapons.
Early Saturday morning, State TV also broadcast footage of hundreds of Syrians demonstrating against the US and its allies in the landmark Omayyad Square in Damascus.
"Cabinet agreed on the need to take action to alleviate humanitarian distress and deter further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime".
Mr. Trump's early morning comments were remarkable in that he is, in some way, telegraphing the United States' response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, which is something he had previously criticized other leaders for doing.
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China, the fifth permanent member, said through its foreign ministry that it opposed the use of force, urged negotiation and called for a "comprehensive, impartial and objective" investigation into the allegation that chemical weapons were used. Western allies are considering intervening military action.
The White House said Wednesday that Trump "holds Syria and Russian Federation responsible for this chemical weapons attack".
The US said it suspected sarin gas also was used. That warning was made to avoid casualties among Russian military advisers in Syria.
"In particular, there were signs of severe irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to central nervous systems of those exposed", the United Nations health agency said.
A strike against Syria will likely come in the form of missiles, as was the case a year ago. More broadly, he doubted the wisdom of bombing.
In addition to having two destroyers nearby, it is possible the US also has unacknowledged submarines positioned off the coast of Syria ready to fire satellite-guided, highly precise Tomahawk cruise missiles - the very type of smart missiles the president tweeted about. This is in contrast to an incident one year ago in which the USA government had video and other evidence of certain aspects of an actual attack by Syrian aircraft, which involved the use of sarin gas.
Haley made clear the United States won't be pulling troops out of Syria right away, saying US involvement there "is not done".
This comes as Trump has also said that, "Our relationship with Russian Federation is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War".
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