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Trump says 'mission accomplished' in Syria airstrikes

14 April 2018

The joint airstrikes came under the pretext of punishing the Syrian government for the alleged use of chemical weapons in an attack on the rebel-held town of Douma in the east of Damascus on April 7.

In the aftermath of air strikes launched on Syrian soil by United States President Donald Trump, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has claimed that a "large part" of the Damascus government's arsenal "has been destroyed".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also said the strikes risked "dangerous escalation".

Mattis said the poison gas Assad said he had gotten rid of "still exists".

General Joseph Dunford at a Pentagon briefing shortly after Trump's announcement said three targets had been struck.

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Syrian media reported that air defenses had hit 13 incoming rockets south of Damascus.

Rescue workers said scores of people died in that incident. Moscow also said it was calling an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council, where it is a permanent member, to discuss the "aggressive actions" of the USA and its allies. The New York Times said at least 43 of the victims showed signs of having been exposed to "highly toxic chemicals".

Johnson tweeted Saturday that he welcomed the news of the military strike against major chemical weapons facilities in Syria in concert with "our US and French allies".

"Last night operations were very successful", White said in a press conference Saturday.

"Every American, and particularly our men and women in uniform and their families, deserve far better than action without debate, accountability, and a Constitutionally-required authorization for the use of military force", he said.

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Fox News reported that US military strikes would "go forward in Syria" and said the decision was made by Trump on the evening of April 13. "It is not about regime change", she said. She described it as a "limited and targeted strike" aimed at minimizing civilian casualties.

After failing to talk the U.S. out of bombing targets in Syria, Russia responded to Friday's strikes by saying they "threatened" Russia and warning of "consequences".

Putin also denied that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Douma, saying that Russian military experts had tested the area and found nothing. "I think that's what the president is trying to do and I think he did the right thing".

Syria released video of the wreckage of a bombed-out research lab, but also of President Bashar al-Assad arriving at work as usual, with the caption "morning of resilience". "That's kind of what you have to do".

AFP's correspondent in Damascus said several consecutive blasts were heard at 4:00 am local time (0100 GMT), followed by the sound of airplanes overhead.

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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".

Trump says 'mission accomplished' in Syria airstrikes