Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

US Launches Airstrikes on Syrian Chemical Weapons Facilities

US Launches Airstrikes on Syrian Chemical Weapons Facilities US Launches Airstrikes on Syrian Chemical Weapons Facilities
Stacy Diaz | 14 April, 2018, 14:03

A little after 9pm in Washington, there were reports of strikes on Damascus.

"The Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirms that the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team is on its way to Syria and will start its work as of Saturday 14 April, 2018", the watchdog said in a statement on Thursday.

Syria warned that it will have "no other choice" but to defend itself if the West launches military action.

Trump chastised Syria's two main allies, Russia and Iran, for their roles in supporting "murderous dictators", and noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had guaranteed a 2013 global agreement for Assad to get rid of all of his chemical weapons.

"We do not seek confrontation and we refuse any possibility of military escalation and that is the reason why, with our allies, we have insured that the Russians were warned beforehand", she said.

A USA official told Reuters news agency the attacks were aimed at multiple targets and involved Tomahawk cruise missiles.

President Trump announced in a statement on Friday evening that he had ordered the United States military to conduct a joint military strike with the United Kingdom and France on Syria.

Asked about concerns in planning a strike on Assad's regime, Mattis cited worry over inadvertently causing civilian casualties and avoiding anything that would trigger a wider war. "It is not about regime change".

Trump had spoken by phone with May and French President Emanuel Macron this week as the three leaders weighed their response to the chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma, which left more than 40 people dead last weekend.

What has Trump said about the attack?

Although Syria's military had moved aircraft and other military assets in the days preceding Friday's strike, Dunford said he did not believe it had moved chemical weapons materials. He said on Monday that a decision would be made within 48 hours. Many politicians in Britain, including some in May's own Conservative Party, had called for parliament to be recalled from a break to give authority to any military strike. "Over the a year ago, almost 100 percent of the territory once controlled by the so-called ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq has been liberated and eliminated", he said.

"The goal of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons".

"Most worrying is that she has acted at the behest of presidential tweets and sidelined Parliament".

Officials also said the strike was larger than a similar attack on the Assad regime launched past year.

"President Obama declared a red line".

A USA official said the strikes had targeted chemical production facilities. President Trump has been threatening military retaliation against the Syrian government for the past week, and calling out Russian Federation and Iran for supporting the Syrian regime. "They will lose years of research and development, storage and equipment". The source says they are "significantly enhanced" in terms of anti-strike and anti-aircraft capabilities.

Britain's defence ministry said "very careful scientific analysis" had been applied to maximise the destruction of stockpiled chemicals while minimising any risk of contamination to surrounding areas. "But right now we have no additional attacks planned".