The world reacts to airstrikes on Syria


Russia's ambassador to the United States warned that there would be consequences for the attacks early on Saturday, which came in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the former rebel stronghold of Douma last weekend.

The United States, Britain and France launched strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack after mulling military action for almost a week.

Associated Press reporters in Damascus saw smoke rising from the city's east Damascus early Saturday morning local time.

The U.S. military on April 7, 2017 launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Shayrat air base from the guided missile destroyers USS Ross and USS Porter from the Mediterranean Sea.

The question of who is responsible for the chemical attack on the rebel-held enclave near Damascus, the second such attack in the past year, has become a central issue.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria", Trump responded on Twitter.

"The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children writhing in pain and gasping for air", Trump said in a hastily arranged, eight-minute nationally televised address at 9:01 p.m.

Trump said the USA was "prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", however, he maintained that "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria".

British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said their forces had joined in the attack.

A statement from the British Ministry of Defense said that four Royal Air Force Tornado GR4's were used in the strikes, launching Storm Shadow missiles at a "former missile base - some 15 miles west of Homs".

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Shalabi was 14 when the Syrian civil war started. It is not about regime change.

Let's be clear: These limited strikes nearly certainly did not destroy the Syrian government's entire chemical weapons stockpile, let alone seriously set back its ability to fight anti-government rebels. "We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom, or anywhere else in our world".

This means jets could strike without having to fly over Syria and avoid anti-aircraft defenses. "Russian relationship, rather than militarily against USA soldiers in Syria", Eurasia Group said in an emailed note.

"We have no information to suggest that this group has ever used chemical weapons", it said, adding that it was unlikely the group could have fabricated such a long number of reports pointing to regime involvement.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said no further attacks are planned, and "right now this is a one-time shot".

He added that the facts and the responsibility of the Syrian regime were beyond doubt.

Trump, meanwhile, also addressed the governments of Iran and Russian Federation, both of which support Assad.

These hardliners, along with influential USA allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, want Washington to counter Iran's growing power in Syria - even if it means risking a perilous stand-off with Russian Federation.

"Our response has been limited to the capabilities of the Syrian regime for the production and use of chemical weapons", he said.

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land.

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There are 192 signatories to the United Nations' Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

A broader question is whether the allied attacks are part of a revamped, coherent political strategy to end the war on terms that do not leave Assad in power.

Those targets were carefully selected to avoid collateral damage and the risk of hitting Russian or Iranian troops, an act that Dunford and other Pentagon officials anxious could draw the United States into a brutal face off with near-peer enemies, the general said.

President Trump did not specifically state the targets but did say the targets were associated with chemical weapon capabilities.

There have been periodic allegations of chlorine attacks and other types of chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime since then, however.

"We used the normal deconfliction channel to deconflict airspace, we did not coordinate targets", Dunford said.

On Friday night, Trump, who in recent weeks has mulled the pullout of American troops from Syria, lauded their efforts against ISIS.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the Middle East is in such "peril" today that it has become a threat to global peace and security, and that Syria "represents the most serious threat". "And great warriors they are".

Syria has not reacted formally so far till 10.15 am (IST).

Early Saturday morning, State TV also broadcast footage of hundreds of Syrians demonstrating against the US and its allies in the landmark Omayyad Square in Damascus. We will win with our air defense and our people and leader.

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"When he sees these sorts of things, they outrage him", said a source familiar with the internal debate at the White House.