Secretary of Defense James Mattis, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, described an action taken in Syria to eliminate Russian mercenaries. Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey framed it perfectly:

Mattis doesn’t beat around the bush at all:

Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. has a deconfliction line with Russia to ensure that the two countries can communicate in order to avoid direct conflict with one another in Syria. He said that a group of “irregular forces” were in conflict with U.S. forces, and once it was ascertained that those forces were not Russian regulars, Mattis directed a counterattack.

“The Russian high command in Syria assured us it was not their people, and my direction to the chairman was for the force, then, to be annihilated,” Mattis said. “And it was.”

Here’s the video:

Well, there it is.

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