'Mission accomplished' declares Donald Trump after Syria air strikes

Humam Akbik has family in Syria

The US, France and the United Kingdom launched precision airstrikes in Syria during Saturday's pre-dawn hours as a retaliatory measure for the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on civilians in Douma last week. "A lot has been destroyed in last night's strikes".

Naval and air forces from the three countries hit three primary targets, including a chemical weapons research facility outside Damascus and a weapons storage facility near Homs, General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters.

Bashar Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to United Nations, said the strikes were an "attack against worldwide law", and called on the three countries to stop supporting "terrorists" in Syria.

Mr. Trump described a very specific type of target that the US would go after, which are Syria's chemical weapon capabilities.

Facilities still remain operational with the capability to contribute to continued development of chemical weapons, but the USA military insist a "severe blow" has been dealt.

Still, the strikes Friday risk drawing the US deeper into the Syrian conflict, and could further heighten tensions between the USA and Russian Federation, which threatened earlier in the week to shoot down any USA missiles launched at the Syrian government.

He also said France had "solid intelligence" that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the gas attack in the rebel-held city of Douma last weekend, which monitors say killed at least 40 people.

Dr. Humam Akbik
Dr. Humam Akbik

"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved", Dunford told reporters, adding the USA military advised Russia of airspace that would be used in the strike but did not "pre-notify them".

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, countered that Russia's track record of vetoing Security Council resolutions created to rein in the Assad government had given the Syrian leader "a green light" for the use of "barbaric weapons".

US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the air strikes were a "one time shot" to send a strong message to Assad.

The Syrian envoy said the airstrikes were aimed at preventing the OPCW investigation of the alleged incident in Douma and rhetorically asked why the three Western powers did not provide any evidence to the OPCW ahead of their attack on Syria. Russian Federation called an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting on the attack. That attack, [Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White says], hit a Syrian military air base and was meant to focus on Syria's ability to deliver chemical weapons.

The president also blasted Iran and Russian Federation for supporting Assad's regime, particularly in the wake of the suspected chemical attack.

Both Russia and Iran condemned the airstrikes.

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