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U.S. launches 'precision srikes' on Syria as UK, France join in

15 April 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May said there was "no practicable alternative to the use of force" to deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.

A top Pentagon official, Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, said the action would set back Syria's chemical weapons program "for years".

Syria's air defence system, which mostly consists of systems made in the Soviet Union, has intercepted 71 of the missiles fired on Saturday by the US, British and French forces, he added.

"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 Diplomatic Reception Room. "Mission Accomplished!" he declared.

"This collective action sends a clear message that the worldwide community will not stand by and tolerate the use of chemical weapons", May said at a press conference, calling the military action "right and legal". "We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents".

The Syrian government has repeatedly dimissed the alleged chemical attack in Douma as fabrication by the rebels and their foreign supporters to justify military strikes on Syria.

Two US officials said attacks could continue beyond tonight, with a senior administration official saying "this isn't over".

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The US, UK, and France carried out a joint operation on Friday night targeting three research facilities in Syria thought to have been involved in the production of chemical weapons.

Mr. Assad's key ally Iran also slammed the attack, with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei describing Western leaders as "criminals". Syrian air defenses responded to the joint strikes by the United States, France and Britain.

Freeland did not specify how she knew that the Syrian government was responsible, though she said Canada is working with non-governmental organizations and others to collect evidence of war crimes and other atrocities in Syria.

"Right now this is a one-time shot", US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said, but did not rule out further attacks.

Facilities still remain operational with the capability to contribute to continued development of chemical weapons, but the United States military insist a "severe blow" has been dealt.

Still, the strikes Friday risk drawing the USA deeper into the Syrian conflict, and could further heighten tensions between the US and Russian Federation, which threatened earlier in the week to shoot down any US missiles launched at the Syrian government. He said Russian Federation is calling for an immediate U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss the "aggressive actions" of the US and its allies.

U.S. launches 'precision srikes' on Syria as UK, France join in