Syria's Assad Welcomes Russian Politicians As Trump Defends "Mission Accomplished"

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford brief members of the media on Syria

Trump said Friday that the United States is "prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents". Speaking on French television BFM and online site Mediapart, Macron stressed that the French diplomacy is able to talk with Iran, Russia and Turkey on one side and to the United States on the other side.

President Trump declared "Mission Accomplished" hours after USA and European forces bombarded three Syrian chemical weapons facilities with 105 missiles - with none intercepted by Syrian or Russian defenses. Accordingly, the US will find it important to maintain its military presence if it anticipates further chemical attacks, and wants to use them to justify striking the regime. Nikki Haley on the other hand, the US ambassador in the United Nations, said that the United States remains, in a direct warning to Assad and his supporters against using chemical weapons. Instead, a coordinated and prolonged campaign to militarily destroy ISIS has been the focus of the USA intervention, and Trump has vowed to withdraw the US from the conflict once this has been achieved; to the dismay of many of his military advisors.

Has this newfound mission to put an end to Assad's use of chemical weapons been "accomplished" by the airstrikes?

Dennis Ross, who served as top Middle East adviser to President Barack Obama in his first term, said the missile strikes would have little effect on the overall situation in Syria.

The nighttime Syria assault was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Syria's key ally, Russia, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow in advance.

Syria has been locked in a civil war since the Arab Spring of 2011, pitting rebel groups who seek to depose the Assad regime against Russia-backed government forces.

Russian Federation and Iran called the use of force by the United States and its allies a "military crime" and "act of aggression".

Russian Federation called an emergency meeting of the United Nation's Security Council to introduce a resolution condemning the "aggression" of the joint strike from U.S., British and French forces.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said evidence suggested that the Assad regime was behind a chemical attack in Douma on April 7, which killed at least 75, and that the global community "cannot afford" to turn a blind eye. In the bigger picture other interests and objectives are at play, and the using the plight of the Syrian people to legitimise military intervention, making way for a possible shift in the U.S.'s Syria policy if the situation demands it.

But White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders insisted Sunday that the strike was a success. The military said there were three targets: the Barzah chemical weapons research and development site in the Damascus area, a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs and a chemical weapons "bunker" a few miles from the second target. In a USA military action a year ago in response to a sarin gas attack, missiles took out almost 20 percent of the Syrian air force, the Pentagon said. The NATO alliance gave its full backing; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels that the attack was about ensuring that chemical weapons can not be used with impunity. What happens next, she said, is up to Assad and to his Russian and Iranian allies. In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned. Angus King said "it's impossible to say at this point" whether the United States' mission in Syria has been accomplished.



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