Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Air strikes on Syria will not change course of war - Johnson

Air strikes on Syria will not change course of war - Johnson

Pentagon officials on Saturday said they "assessed" that there were probably both chemical and nerve agents in the targets US forces hit with missile strikes, but added that they had "successfully mitigated" against this in the way they attacked them.

James Piazza, a Penn State professor and Middle East expert, said he suspects the missile attacks will have a "negligible" effect on Syria's chemical weapons abilities.

The coordinated attacks came as a response to the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma last week, killing scores of civilians.

Syria and Russian Federation have also denied that any chemical attack took place, and so far there has been no independent confirmation of civilian casualties. On the other hand, USA officials said they are unsure if reconstruction work in the areas will be continued or not.

Still, Trump warned in his televised address of a readiness to "sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", though he didn't specify what that meant.

Haley says the United States military priority in Syria is to ensure Iran doesn't "take over" the country, suggesting USA troops would be a deterrent to that.

"We would have preferred an alternative path, but in this case there was none", May said. "Over the last 18 months, Russian Federation has completely recovered the Syrian air defense systems, and continues its development".

Tensions remain on a knife-edge in the region as Assad remains defiant - continuing to deny he used chemical weapons. On Monday, he told the BBC's Hardtalk show that he guaranteed there had been no Russian tampering.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow would make every effort to improve political relations with the West, TASS news agency reported today. He said government officials met with the delegation, which has been in Damascus for three days, a number of times to discuss cooperation.

Douma was the last rebel holdout in the eastern Ghouta suburbs, the target of a massive government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands.

". We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized - either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom or elsewhere".

The Pentagon also said that it was not aware of any civilian causalities at the time.

The Barzeh facility is thought to be the centre of Syria's chemical weapons program, while chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, General Joseph Dunford, said Him Shinshar was "the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment".

Haley told Fox News, "If Assad doesn't get it" after Saturday's barrage of 105 missiles fired by the U.S., Britain and France at three Syrian chemical weapons facilities, "it's going to hurt". Protesters waved Syrian flags at the demonstration, dubbed a "salute to the achievements of the Arab Syrian Army", set off fireworks and unleashed celebratory gunfire. For now, it doesn't appear that Russian Federation is heeding the call by U.S. State Department Press Secretary Heather Nauert who said that Russian Federation "needs to take responsibility".

The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed those allegations as a bogus story, while Russia's Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were not a reliable source of information as they were known for spreading fabricated news.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the military strikes violated the UN Charter and that if they continue, "it will inevitably entail chaos in global relations", according to a Kremlin statement on Sunday.

Prime Minister Theresa May will face questions from MPs on Monday, when parliament reconvenes after a break.

Moscow also condemned the Western states for refusing to wait for the findings of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspection team on the alleged attack before launching the strikes.

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