Syrian air strikes an 'act of aggression', Vladimir Putin says

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

"This persistent pattern of behavior must be stopped - not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we can not allow the erosion of the worldwide norm that prevents the use of these weapons", she said.

The U.S., United Kingdom and France launched missiles at a research and development center, a chemical weapons storage site and a chemical weapons bunker.

British PM Theresa May also supported the US-led air strikes on Syria by calling them a "clear message" against the use of chemical weapons.

Trump on Friday night announced that the three allies had launched military strikes to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for alleged chemical weapons use and to prevent him from doing it again.

After the massive airstrikes on Syria, US President Donald Trump hailed the attack on Twitter.

As pictures of the bombing raids aftermath continue to emerge, Mr Trump said he "could not have had a better result".

Earlier on Saturday, President Emmanuel Macron also said France and its partners "will renew their efforts at the United Nations to allow the establishment of an worldwide mechanism to establish responsibility, prevent impunity and prevent any recurrence by the Syrian regime".

"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".

Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime. Syria and its ally Russia have denied such an attack took place, and Moscow has accused Britain of helping to stage the Douma incident to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

A team of inspectors from the OPCW arrived in Syria on Thursday and Friday and had been expected to start their investigation into the alleged Douma attack on Saturday.

The combined U.S., British and French assault appeared to be more intense than the strike Trump ordered nearly exactly a year ago against a Syrian airbase in retaliation for an earlier chemical weapons attack that Washington attributed to Assad.

Trump said the operation would be conducted in cooperation with the militaries of France and Britain. The targets included a scientific research facility near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs, and a third location near Homs that contained both a command post and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility, the USA military said.

The Syrian foreign ministry said the US-led strikes would only "lead to inflaming tensions in the world" and threaten worldwide security.

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

In a statement posted on Facebook, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said "After this statement the American and other Western mass media should understand their responsibility in what is happening".

"We had an early warning of the strike from the Russians. and all military bases were evacuated a few days ago", the official said.

The U.S. president, who has tried to build good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had sharply critical words for Russia and Iran, which have backed Assad's government.

  • Delores Daniels