WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Monday, Mattis said that US presence in Syria was legitimate because it was authorized by UN authorities to fight the Daesh terrorist group.
"By Mattis’ logic it would seem, the US military would be authorized to invade any country on earth, so long as we claimed there was one or two self-identified IS members in the country," former Army lawyer Major Todd Pierce told Sputnik. "So he’s claiming license for US military action anywhere in the world, basically at our own discretion, regardless of the human cost in collateral damage."
Pierce, who previously served as a lawyer in the US military’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) office pointed out that Mattis had distorted the clear meaning and specified authorization in the UN resolution.
"Without United Nations authorization to be in Syria, the United States has no legal authorization to be in Syria, as Syria certainly didn’t give the US permission," he said.
The US presence in Syria has been repeatedly criticized by Damascus, which stressed that any foreign military operation taking place without government approval would be considered an illegal invasion.