US, UK, and France Launch Airstrikes against Syria
The US, UK and France have launched airstrikes “on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities” in Syria, US President Donald Trump announced early on Saturday.
The strikes come after a suspected chemical weapons attack in the former rebel stronghold of Douma last weekend.
The Pentagon said the air strikes, which began at 4am Syrian time, involved planes and ship-launched missiles, more than a hundred weapons in all. Officials named three targets: a scientific research centre in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, and another storage site and command post nearby.
"Right now, we have no additional attacks planned" the US defence secretary, James Mattis, said. "This is a one-time shot."
However, in a televised address from the White House earlier to announce the strikes, Donald Trump said the US and its allies would strike again if there were more chemical weapons attacks by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
"We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents," he said. Referring to last Saturday's chemical weapons attack reported to have killed over 70 people, Trump said. "These are not actions of a man, they are crimes of a monster instead."
According to US media, the Russian ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, issued a statement threatening "consequences".
"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented," Antonov's statement said. "Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris."