DamascusUS, British and French military forces rained missiles on Damascus, the capital city of eight million people, overnight on the orders of President Donald Trump.
Trump ordered a military strike against the war-torn country before an international inspections team could start a probe on alleged chemical weapons use which Trump and his allies made pretext for the attack.
“A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syria”, Trump said in a televised address from the White House on Friday evening.
“The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump
He also warned Moscow and Tehran to end their support of the Syrian government, but said, “hopefully, someday we’ll get along with Russia, and maybe even Iran.”
US officials said that Tomahawk cruise missiles and other types of bombs were used in the attack early Saturday, with UK’s Defense Ministry saying that four RAF tornado jets also took part in the strike.
British Prime Minister Theresa May also said she authorized the British armed forces to conduct coordinated and targeted strikes, noting, “I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest.”
Residents of Damascus, the capital, woke to the sounds of multiple explosions shaking the city before the dawn call to prayer.
US aircraft and ships were used in the attack, according to multiple US defense officials.
Syrian state television said government air defense systems were responding to “the American aggression” and aired video of missiles being fired into a dark night sky. It reported that 13 missiles had been shot down by Syrian air defenses near Al-Kiswa, a town south of Damascus.
Syrian state news termed the strikes “a flagrant violation of international law” and said the intervention “is doomed to fail.”
Russia’s foreign ministry said the strikes came as Syria — which has been wracked by seven years of civil war — had “a chance of a peaceful future,” while Moscow’s ambassador to Washington warned of unspecified “consequences”.
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a press briefing that the air strikes on targets in Syria were a “one time shot,” noting that future strikes will depend on whether the Syrian government uses chemical weapons.
The Pentagon chief added that the US and its allies struck Syria harder than they did last year.
US strikes came a week after Israel launched a pre-dawn missile attack on a major air base in central Syria. A war-monitoring group said the airstrikes killed 14 people, including Iranians active in Syria.
Secret Service Plot
Some non-governmental organizations, including controversial White Helmets, claimed that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7.
According to the statement uploaded on the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs were dropped on the city which killed over a dozen people.Russia earlier said it has “irrefutable” evidence that the alleged chemical attack was staged with the help of a foreign secret service.
“We have irrefutable evidence that this was another staged event, and that the secret services of a certain state that is now at the forefront of a Russophobic campaign was involved in this staged event,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow on Friday.
Immediately after the so-called chemical attack, the United States and its allies rushed to accuse the Syrian government of conducting it.
However, in a statement, the Syrian government has denied the allegations, saying such claims were aimed at halting Syrian forces’ rapid advances against the West backed terrorists.
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari told UN Security Council meeting on Friday, that the Syrian government has invited an OPCW fact-finding mission to come to Syria and visit the site of the alleged incident. “We are ready to provide all necessary conditions for a transparent work of this mission. We expect this team to begin work within hours.”
NATO, Israel defend strikes
The NATO military alliance voiced support for the military action.
“I support the actions taken by the United States, the United Kingdom and France,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement, claiming … the campaign will reduce the ability of Syria to launch chemical attacks.
An Israeli official also defended the military attacks as justified and said, “This night, under America’s guidance, the United States, France and Britain acted accordingly,” AFP reported.
Reports say Israel has stepped up military activities on the occupied side of the Golan Hights near Syria, deploying Merkava Mk-IV tanks there, following the tripartite missile strikes by its allies.
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