US, Allies Hit Three Syrian Sites Linked To Chemical Weapons Program

US, Allies Hit Three Syrian Sites Linked To Chemical Weapons Program

The allied operation comes a year after the United States missile strike that Trump said was meant to deter Assad from further use of chemical weapons.

A senior official in the regional alliance that supports President Bashar al-Assad said the attack by the United States, Britain and France would be viewed as contained if it was now over.

The president said the US prepared to sustain effort until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.

As Trump spoke from the White House, explosions lit up the skies over Damascus, the Syrian capital.

Associated Press reporters saw smoke rising from east Damascus and a huge fire could be seen from a distance to the east.

The U.S. president had sharply critical words for both Russian Federation and Iran, which have backed Assad's government.

Although Trump reportedly advocated for a broad military strike that would punish Syria, and to an extent, its allies Russian Federation and Iran, he is believed to have been met with resistance from Mattis and other military officials, who feared the White House lacked a broad strategy, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. They confirmed that the operation had concluded and said that no further strikes were planned at this time.

And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack. "In 2013, [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin and his government promised the world that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons", he continued.

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"Even US defence secretary James Mattis has said we "don't have evidence" and warned further military action could "escalate out of control".

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The U.N. human rights investigators, led by Brazilian Paulo Pinheiro, say they have documented suspected war crimes committed by all sides in the seven-year conflict, as well as alleged crimes against humanity by Syrian government forces.

"Targets that were struck and destroyed were specifically associated with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program", Dunford said.

They targeted a scientific research facility in the Damascus area, a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs and a third location that contained both a command post and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility in the same area, the United States military said.

However, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said the Russians were warned "ahead of time".

UK Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed she had authorised British forces to join "US and French allies" and said their action wasn't about meddling in a civil war or regime change.

Blasts were reported in Damascus, Syria, just minutes after President Trump announced that he would be launching an attack in retaliation for last week's chemical attack by Bashar al-Assad on his own citizens.

Asked if the USA and its allies would continue military operations, he said: "That will depend on Mr Assad should he decide to use more chemical weapons in the future, and of course the powers that have signed the Chemical Weapons Prohibition (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) have every reason to challenge Assad should he choose to violate that".

"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved", Dunford told reporters, adding the USA military advised Russia of airspace that would be used in the strike but did not "pre-notify them".

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "One night of airstrikes is not a substitute for a clear, comprehensive Syria strategy".

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