Syrians gather along the streets of Damascus to condemn the air strikes


Mattis and Dunford acknowledged the strike was created to degrade Syria's chemical weapons capability without killing civilians or the many foreign fighters in Syria's multi-sided civil war, particularly those from Russian Federation.

While some people are cautious about laying the blame for the chemical attack on Douma at Syrian President Bashar Assad's door, Britain, France and the USA believe there is no other plausible culprit - citing a growing body of evidence against the regime.

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

But McKenzie said at a Saturday briefing that Syrian air defense shot 40 missiles, mostly after the attack, and that it did not successfully engage any of the allies' aircraft or missiles.

Witnesses saw blasts surrounding much of the Syrian capital and a huge fire could be seen from a distance to the east. There were no immediate reports of casualties, with Damascus' allies saying the buildings hit had been evacuated in advance.

The destroyed Scientific Research Center is seen in Damascus, Syria, April 14, 2018. It also appeared created to sidestep Russian forces in Syria.

French President Emmanuel Macron says his nation, the United States and Britain have launched a military operation against the Syrian government's "clandestine chemical arsenal".

He said: 'On the question of chemical weapons, there is a red line that must not be crossed, and if it should be crossed again, there will be another intervention.

"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.

It added that "we have every reason to believe that the attack on Syria was meant to hamper the work of the OPCW inspectors".

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. He acknowledged, however, that Syria retained "residual" capacity, but gave no details on the scope of what could be left.

Russian Federation and Iran called the use of force by the U.S. and its allies a "military crime" and "act of aggression". "We're going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be".

"Since this was blocked by Russian Federation there was no other alternative than to react the way they reacted at this time".

It was almost exactly one year ago that the USA carried out airstrikes on Syria, marking one of Mr. Trump's most decisive actions in office at the time. Now that the extent and nature of the strikes are much clearer, my assessment is that they will not achieve their stated objective.

Both of the USA strikes, last year and this year, came as a direct response to the Assad regime's believed use of chemical weapons on its own people.

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U.S. officials said they acted to defend allies attacked by the Syrian government as both rival forces raced toward Raqqa city, at the time the de facto capital of the IS militants.

Trump is also putting pressure on Russian Federation and Iran to remove their support for Syria as he asked, "what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men and women and children?"

"Trump calls the two countries those "most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime". United States officials described the forces as Iranian-backed.

The bombings happened hours after American, UK and French forces fired more than 100 missiles at three sites connected to Syria's chemical weapons programme.

Mattis said the strikes this year were much "harder" than last year's.

But President Trump remains ambivalent about crafting a foreign policy that would prevent those three nations from continuing their slaughter.

"Trump is also offering prayers for the Middle East and for the United States".

And she warned that Syria and its allies, which include Iran, should not be "foolish enough to test our will".

The United States, France and Britain acted morally and responsibly by striking Bashar Assad's chemical weapons program in Syria.

Only 10 days ago, Trump told national security aides that he wanted USA forces out of Syria in about six months.

Mrs May said "it was right we acted the way that we did" for operational security reasons to help protect the military.

Although officials said the singular target was Mr Assad's chemical weapons capability, his air force - including helicopters he allegedly has used to drop chemical weapons on civilians - were spared.

"A perfectly executed strike last night", tweeted President Trump.

That's according to a source familiar with the president's plans, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The White House said doctors and aid organizations on the ground in Douma reported "the strong smell of chlorine and described symptoms consistent with exposure to sarin". Last year, the US carried out the attack on its own.



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