Mattis’s comments came as Russia raised the specter of a direct military confrontation with the United States in Syria. Speaking at the United Nations Security Council, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya directly addressed his U.S. counterpart, Nikki Haley.
Vasily Nebenzya: “You are very good at threatening. And the threats you are proffering, that you are now stating vis-à-vis Syria, should make us seriously worried—all of us—because we could find ourselves on the threshold of some very sad and serious events. I would once again ask you, once again beseech you, to refrain from the plans that you’re currently developing for Syria.”