United Kingdom jets fire at Syrian base in 'limited and targeted strike'

15 April, 2018, 03:49 | Author: Wade Massey

The United States, Britain and France carried out a wave of strikes against Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime today in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks that President Donald Trump branded the "crimes of a monster".

Vladimir Putin's Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, referred to the bombings as an "insult" to the president.

"The current escalation of the situation around Syria has a devastating impact on the whole system of global relations", he added.

May said the aim was to deter the Syrian authorities from further use of chemical weapons and to send a message to the wider world that it was unacceptable to use such weapons. Syrians poured into the streets for defiant demonstrations of their national pride. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis later announced that no additional attacks were planned, however.

That attack, White says, hit a Syrian military air base and was meant to focus on Syria's ability to deliver chemical weapons.

But "the strikes are not enough", said the mother-of-eight, sitting on a mattress outside a white tent in a camp for the displaced more than 400 kilometres (250 miles) from her home in Douma. Putin added that Russian military experts who inspected Douma found no trace of the attack.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation representatives planned a special session to hear from U.S., British and French officials.

Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons against civilians, said the president, this time in the town of Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus. She said the use of force was "right and legal" in this case. The attack followed a similar, more limited, strike a year ago also meant to deter Assad from deploying chemicals. The number of missiles fired appear to be much larger.

Reuters cited an unidentified senior official in a regional alliance backing Assad as saying that Russian Federation had provided an "early warning" about the planned air strikes to its allies in Syria and that "all military bases were evacuated a few days ago". Russian Federation threatened to shoot down any USA missiles launched at targets in Syria.

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"Heated rhetoric may well make it very hard to handle and limit the escalation on that point", Smith said.

Both Syria and its ally Russian Federation have said they would guarantee the safety and security of the OPCW mission - the first outside Damascus since 2014.

"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved", Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. But the description from an ally put things differently.

Speaking at the presidential palace, Defense Minister Florence Parly said "these different assets fired cruise missiles in a perfectly coordinated way... closely synchronized with our American and British allies".

At a Pentagon news conference alongside Mattis, and with British and French military officers beside them to emphasize allied unity, Dunford said the attacks targeted mainly three targets in western Syria.

Syrian state television said government forces had shot down more than a dozen missiles, and claimed only the research facility in Damascus had been damaged.

"Initial indications are that the precision of the Storm Shadow weapons and meticulous target planning have resulted in a successful attack", it said.

The targets, according to the General, are a scientific research facility in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs and a chemical weapons equipment storage and an important command post, also near Homs. Still, the EU's goal is to prevent an escalation of the conflict, Mogherini said, calling for an immediate ceasefire and a "genuine political transition" in Syria.

Those strikes destroyed an airstrip, aircraft and fuel stations, and were retaliation for another chemical gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun, that killed around 90 people, an attack the United Nations later officially blamed on Syrian forces.

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