United States strike in Syria targets military, chemical weapons sites

Assad Interview

Firefighters extinguish smoke that rises from the damage of the Syrian Scientific Research Center which was attacked by U.S., British and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for suspected chemical attack against civilians, in Barzeh, near Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Trump had said Friday that the USA is "prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents".

French President Emmanuel Macron said the strikes had been limited so far to Syria's chemical weapons facilities.

Asked if the action had also been a warning to Russia, Mrs May said: "The action that took place last night was an action which was focused on degrading and deterring the operational capability and the willingness of the Syrian regime to continue to use chemical weapons".

The strikes on Syria's chemical warfare facilities Saturday will not significantly weaken Bashar Assad's brutal grip on power, which has been expanding in recent years, or change the U.S. strategy of defeating the Islamic State, U.S. officials and analysts said.

"Last night, operations were very successful", Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said at a briefing Saturday morning. "Initial indications are that we accomplished the military objectives without interference from Syria", he said.

Pentagon officials say the attacks targeted the heart of Assad's programs to develop and produce chemical weapons.

United States President Donald Trump agreed to launch coordinate strikes against Syria with allies on Friday.

Syrian state media said the country's "air defenses shot down 13 missiles south of Damascus", NPR's Ruth Sherlock reports from Beirut.

Noting that Washington "had done everything in its power to settle the dispute diplomatically", Haley pointed out that Russian Federation repeatedly vetoed attempts to condemn the Syrian regime at the UNSC over the past week, providing Assad diplomatic cover to continue carrying out its vicious military campaign against his own people.

But for Syrians who had welcomed the prospect of an American attack - and in many cases, called for them over many years - it did not take long for hope to sour into disappointment.

The U.S. had no coordination or agreements with Russians before the strike, McKenzie said.

"The chemical fabrications, which did not serve the terrorists and their sponsors in Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, will not serve them today either, as the Syrian state is determined to end terrorism in every square inch of Syrian territory", read a statement by the Syrian government.

The US, France and the United Kingdom have until now, refrained from targeting the Assad regime; with the exception of one missile strike a year ago by the US.

Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the United Nations, said during the emergency meeting that a "significant body of evidence including intelligence" points to the Syrian regime as being behind the attack. First, the United States strikes may not stop Assad from using chemical weapons, or turn the the tide of seven-year-long civil war.

"Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message previous year".

The Pentagon said America is ready if anyone should retaliate. He authorized a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles to hit a single Syrian airfield in April 2017 in retaliation for Assad's use of sarin gas against civilians.

Mattis said he was not aware of any USA losses, and added, "Right now we have no additional attacks planned".

White also said Russian Federation has begun a disinformation campaign on the situation.

Four Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s joined the co-ordinated missile strikes at 2am, launching Storm Shadow missiles at a base 15 miles west of Homs.



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