Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Air strikes launched in Syria in response to suspected chemical weapons attack

May ready to bypass Parliament & approve UK military intervention in Syria – BBC Tom Nicholson Global Look Press
Judith Alexander | 15 April, 2018, 00:59

Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Friday announced the press briefing would be held Saturday for the specific reason of dispelling false information about the strike coming from Russian Federation, which is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Syria's President Bashar Assad announced that his country would respond to the allied attack but offered no details.

The strike, which was conducted with French and British forces, employed 105 missiles and other weapons at three chemical weapons facilities.

In a statement released early Saturday morning, Putin denounced the strikes as an "act of aggression" that would have a "destructive influence on the entire system of worldwide relations".

After the massive airstrikes on Syria, US President Donald Trump hailed the attack on Twitter.

Tayyip Erdogan, president of Syria's neighbour Turkey, said on Friday he had spoken by phone with Trump and Putin and told both that increasing tensions in the region was not right.

Damascus skies erupt with missile fire as the US launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the capital Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Assad's allies, including Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah group, also condemned the strikes.

The strikes on Syria's chemical warfare facilities Saturday will not significantly weaken Bashar Assad's brutal grip on power, which has been expanding in recent years, or change the U.S. strategy of defeating the Islamic State, U.S. officials and analysts said.

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"The attack this morning against Syria is a crime", Khamenei said in remarks published on his Telegram channel.

However, the Syrian Information Ministry refuted what the Western media presented as United States striking 9 targets, and called on the Syrian people not to pay attention to those media reports aimed at magnifying attack.

The chemical weapons attack killed at least 40 people and injured over 500.

A team of inspectors from the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog was on its way to Syria on Thursday to begin an investigation into a suspected chemical weapons attack near the capital that has brought the war-torn country to the brink of a wider conflict, amid Western threats of retaliation and Russian warnings of the potential for "a unsafe escalation".

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was set to begin its investigation inside the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on Saturday, just hours after the strikes. "This operation does not represent a change in US policy", she said.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency said the attacks were a "flagrant violation of worldwide law" and would fail. The U.K. Defense Ministry said the strikes were "successful".

British Prime Minister Theresa May won backing from her senior ministers on Thursday to take unspecified action with the United States and France to deter further use of chemical weapons by Syria. Officials said Syrian air defenses engaged toward the end of the salvo but were ineffective.

Several missiles hit a research centre in Barzeh, north of Damascus, "destroying a building that included scientific labs and a training centre", SANA reported.

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