Al Jazeera – 2018-04-13 23:54:51
US and Allies Strike Syria ‘Chemical Weapons Sites’
US President Trump announces attacks, saying
‘we will sustain this response until
Syria stops chemical weapons use’
US Attacks Capital of Syria at 4AM
(April 13, 2018) — US President Donald Trump has announced he ordered air attacks in Syria “on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities”, in collaboration with the UK and France. The attacks early on Saturday come in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the former rebel stronghold of Douma last weekend.
“I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said from the White House late on Friday.
Explosions were reportedly heard in Damascus, Homs and elsewhere in Syria, as Trump spoke. A US official told Reuters news agency the attacks were aimed at multiple targets and involved Tomahawk cruise missiles.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Britain’s involvement in the intervention, saying: “We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.”
She said the attacks were not about “regime change” or “intervening in a civil war”, but were to “deter the use of chemical weapons” by the Syrian government. French President Emmanuel Macron also confirmed France’s involvement in the attack.
The purpose of the campaign is to “establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,” Trump said.
Syrian state TV said that air defences have responsed to the attack by shooting down several missiles. State news agency SANA lambasted the US-led strikes as a breach of international law and said the attack had targeted army depots in the Homs area. “The tripartite aggression is a flagrant violation of international law,” SANA reported.
Russia’s ambassador to the US warned that there would be consequences for the US-led military strikes, adding that it was not acceptable to insult Russia’s president.
“A pre-designed scenario is being implemented,” Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said on Twitter. “Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.”
“Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible,” he added. “The US — the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons — has no moral right to blame other countries.”
Russia: Syria hit as country had ‘chance for peaceful future’
Russia’s foreign ministry says Syria was attacked at the very moment the country had a “chance for a peaceful future”, Russian news agency RIA reported. The foreign ministry also said that Western media has some responsibility for Syria attack, which was based on its reports, according to RIA.
‘Three targets hit’
Joseph Dunford, Washington’s top general, said the precision strikes hit three targets — a scientific research centre near Damascus, a storage facility and command post also near the capital and a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs.
US top general: US did not notify Russia of targets
Washington’s top general, Joesph Dunford, said Russia’s forces in Syria had been warned through existing “deconfliction” channels that western planes would be in Syrian air space, but that Washington had not revealed the target sites or timing in advance.
US chairman of joint chiefs of staff: First wave of attacks ends
US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford announced the first wave of attacks has ended.
Syrian state media says US-led strikes hit army depots
Syrian state media called the attacks by the US, France and the UK “a flagrant violation of international law”, adding that the attacks had targeted army depots in the Homs area.
Russia warned ‘such actions won’t be left without consequences’
The Russian ambassador to the US said in a statement on the strikes that Russia warned that “such actions will not be left without consequences”.
Mattis: ‘Right now, this is a one-time shot’
“Right now, this is a one-time shot, and I believe it has sent a very strong message,” US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said.
Syrian state TV: Syrian air defences responded to attack
Syrian state TV reports that Syrian air defences responded to the strikes by the US, UK and France
Explosions heard in Damascus
As Trump announced the strikes, explosions were heard from Damascus, Reuters news agency reported.
Emmanuel Macron confirms France’s involvement
French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed France’s involvement in the strikes.
UK’s Theresa May: Strikes meant to ‘deter the use of chemical weapons’
UK Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Britain’s involvement in the strikes, saying: “We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.” She said the strikes were not about “regime change” or “intervening in a civil war”, but were to “deter the use of chemical weapons” by the Syrian government.
Trump: ‘I ordered precision strikes’
“I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said from the White House late on Friday. The purpose of the campaign is to “establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,” the US President said.
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