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US, allies strike Syria over suspected chemical attack

14 April 2018

Trump said the USA was prepared to "sustain" pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

In a combined operation, the US, Britain and France today launched military strikes against Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime, President Donald Trump announced, as he alleged the war-torn nation of using chemical weapons against its own people.

The official Sana news agency cited an unnamed source as saying: "When terrorists failed, the USA, France and Britain intervened and committed aggression against Syria".

Tomahawk missiles were used in previous United States attacks in Syria a year ago in response to the use of chemical weapons in the rebel-held Khan Sheikhoun town of Idlib province.

Missiles streak across the Damascus skyline.

The U.N. -backed Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded in June 2017 that sarin was the nerve agent used in the attack.

The Russian navy ships were ordered to monitor the underwater, surface and air situation in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, including approaches and maneuvering of foreign ships in the area near Syria's Tartus, a port city where Russia has its only foreign base outside of Europe.

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SANA reported the joint operation hit a research center northeast of the capital as well as other military installations around Damascus, but said missiles targeting army depots in Homs had been intercepted.

"This persistent pattern of behavior must be stopped - not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we can not allow the erosion of the global norm that prevents the use of these weapons".

Behind closed doors, Trump pushed for a more aggressive response than the one taken previous year, wanting options that would involve attacks on targets in Syria associated with Russian Federation and Iran, officials said.

While Trump was determined to respond to the chemical attack, he also said the United States "does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria, under no circumstances".

Some who support the strikes say that even if they fail to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons in the future, they will send the message that the worldwide community is watching and intends to enforce the ban on chemical weapons that countries instituted after World War I.

"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved", Dunford told reporters.

The U.S. strike on Syria is the second one by the Trump administration.

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France's foreign minister says the "chemical escalation" in Syria is not acceptable because it's violating the rules of war and of humanity.

"We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences", he said. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States.

The French strike group included at least four Dassault Rafale fighter jets armed with the MBDA SCALP-EG (MBDA Storm Shadow) air launched cruise missiles, flown from French air base in Jordan.

The Pentagon could not confirm how many missiles hit their targets. But he said Congress should authorize any military action.

Trump indicated the strikes would continue until the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons ends, reports CNN.

More than 80 people were killed, and images of adults gasping for air and babies on respirators drew world outrage.

Trump has eroded the confidence of America's allies in the country ― most notably the Kurd-dominated force responsible for the triumph over ISIS.

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He followed up by responding to a Russian threat to shoot down any USA missiles by saying: "Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart!"

US, allies strike Syria over suspected chemical attack