Precision air strikes in Syria in retaliation of suspected chemical attack

Syrian state media said the strikes caused material damage only at a scientific research centre in the Barzeh district of Damascus on Friday.

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said “nothing is certain” when asked whether he believed the strikes would deter Syrian President Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons again.

The Damascus sky lights up missile fire as the USA launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the capital early Saturday, April 14, 2018.

The air strikes were in response to the suspected chemical attack that left dozens dead last weekend in Douma.

Another journalist wondered why the strikes on Syria took place before the OPCW experts were able to finish their investigation into the claimed gas attack.

“I just want to tell Mr. Trump directly: I’m a Syrian refugee who survived chemical weapons attacks, who lived under two years of siege and bombardment by the government”, Eid said.

Russia’s military said Syrian air defence units downed 71 of the missiles.

Trump’s remarks on Twitter are reminiscent of President George W. Bush’s 2003 speech announcing an end to major combat operations in Iraq on the on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, with a big sign that read, “Mission Accomplished” in the backdrop.

A chorus of voices across the American political spectrum expressed support for Trump’s latest strikes, but criticised the lack of a broader.

Karen Pierce, the British ambassador, defended the assault as a “limited, targeted and effective strike” made after British intelligence found strong evidence that Mr. Assad’s forces were responsible. “It is not to get involved in the Syrian civil war”, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters.

The vote reflected the deep divisions in the U.N.’s most powerful body, which has been paralyzed in dealing with the seven-year Syrian conflict and chemical weapons use in the country.

Despite Syria’s commitment to abolish its program in 2013, USA officials say it is “highly likely” that Assad kept a hidden, undisclosed stockpile. U.S. defence chief James Mattis said later that “right now, this is a one-time shot”, rejecting to rule out further strikes against Syria.

The official also said that USA intelligence had tracked Syrian military helicopters above Douma before the attack and that they had dropped so-called barrel bombs, which Assad’s forces have used in the past for chemical agents.

The narrower agenda is that the US and its allies will defend global laws against chemical weapons and retaliate against countries that use them.

“If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here”.

“At a time that terrorists are suffering a defeat in Syria on a daily basis, such aggressive act certainly means support for these defeated groups”, President Hassan Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday.

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. His allies have questioned the rationale of a victor needing to resort to chemical weapons that bring global condemnation and risk punitive action.

· Russian Federation reported that the Syrian air defense systems intercepted around 70 of the missiles that had been fired towards the targets in Syria but the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford said he was aware of no initial losses. The response was an attempt to weaken Assad’s capabilities, and make the prohibition of chemical weapons clear. “We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will”, USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said.

However, speaking on Saturday morning, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “confident” the strikes had been successful.

“More than 2500 people have been killed in the last two months in Eastern Ghouta with all kinds of weapons, and no one did anything about it”.

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This is a developing story and will be updated.

American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

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