February 8, 2018 / 8:19 PM / in 10 months

Mattis calls attack in Syria on U.S.-backed forces 'perplexing'

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testifies to the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday called a thwarted attack on U.S. and U.S.-backed forces in Syria overnight “perplexing,” saying he had no idea what motivated pro-Syrian government forces to attempt the coordinated strike.

“It’s perplexing,” Mattis told reporters, adding initial information did not reveal any Russian forces among the attackers. “Why they chose to initiate this attack, you’ll have to ask them.”

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by James Dalgleish

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