Damascus Defiant As Trump Orders Strikes After Syria Chemical Attack

Syrian air strikes are a warning to Russia – Theresa May

Syrian air strikes are a warning to Russia – Theresa May

US Joint Chief of Staff Marine Corps Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie Jnr said the target was destroyed and this will "set the Syrian chemical weapons programme back for years".

The strikes "will significantly impact the Syrian regime's ability to develop, deploy and use chemical weapons in the future", said Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, director of the United States military's Joint Staff, though he noted a "residual" element remained.

Despite severely damaging the infrastructure with the strikes, McKenzie said the Pentagon would not rule out that the Assad government still had capability to use such weapons again.

But US Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters Friday that the missiles were a "one-time shot" for now, and that the strike sent a "strong message" to "deter" Assad from carrying out another chemical attack.

Russia's Defense Ministry said they did little damage.

American officials and their European allies were careful to characterise the attack as a one-off strike created to deter Mr Assad from using chemical weapons again.

"We do not seek conflict in Syria, but we can not allow such grievous violations of global law", she said, referring to the suspected chemical attack.

More than 40 people were killed and 500 injured - including women and children - after poison gas was used in an attack on Douma, a rebel-held enclave near the Syrian capital of Damascus, on April 7.

Trump chastised Syria's two main allies, Russia and Iran, for their roles in supporting "murderous dictators", and noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had guaranteed a 2013 global agreement for Assad to get rid of all of his chemical weapons. "They are crimes of a monster instead". Instead, according to a person familiar with White House war planning, they were part of a plan to distract Russian Federation and its Syrian ally from an assault Assad's government could do little to defend itself against.

Damascus Defiant As Trump Orders Strikes After Syria Chemical Attack

Syria, Russia and Iran shrugged off strikes on Saturday by the United States and its allies against three Syrian chemical weapons facilities, which drew angry condemnations but no indication that there would be a wider escalation. The intercepted missiles included all 12 of those bound for the Al-Dumayr military airfield near Damascus, where the chemical attack that triggered the crisis was allegedly launched.

Mattis said the targets selected by U.S., British and French officials were meant to minimize civilian casualties. These missiles may have come down in populated areas, he said. "Its military objectives are achieved", she said. "Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military".

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May was more cautious, but by the time the first precision cruise missile was launched, Trump had a mini-coalition.

Canada has become the latest to lay the blame for a deadly chemical-weapons attack in Syria last week at Syrian President Bashar Assad's doorstep, despite Russian suggestions to the contrary.

The Russian ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, condemned the airstrikes and warned that "such actions will not be left without consequences".

The facilities hit had however reportedly been evacuated in recent days.

The allies successfully hit all three of their targets, the Pentagon said, deploying 105 missiles.

America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria under no circumstances. The participation of British and French forces enables Trump to assert a wider global commitment against the use of chemical weapons, but the multi-pronged attack carries the risk of Russian retaliation. Two U.S. planes from a base in Spain provided logistical support, the Spanish defense ministry said.

The Pentagon also said that it was not aware of any civilian causalities at the time. As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home.


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