Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Western strikes hit bases, chemical research centres around Damascus

Western strikes hit bases, chemical research centres around Damascus

If Britain, France and the United States take military action, "we would have no other choice expect applying Article 51 that gives us the right to defend ourselves", said Jaafari.

"We are very confident chlorine was used", he said. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said the United Kingdom and France had joined in the attack.

The prospect of Western military action in Syria that could lead to confrontation with Russian Federation hung over the Middle East on Friday but there was no clear sign that a us -led attack was imminent.

Those targets were carefully selected to avoid collateral damage and the risk of hitting Russian or Iranian troops, an act that Dunford and other Pentagon officials anxious could draw the United States into a brutal face off with near-peer enemies, the general said. A USA -led coalition has been conducting airstrikes in Syria since September 2014 as part of a largely successful effort to break the IS grip on both Syria and Iraq. Here's some of the background.

In an early response, the Russian foreign ministry called the Western attacks a violation of worldwide laws.

"Did a chemical weapons assault happen?"

The U.S. struck the base with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles targeting runways and hangars.

Syrian media reported that air defenses had hit 13 incoming rockets south of Damascus.

Mr Trump, who has cancelled a planned trip overseas, has been canvassing support for strikes from the leaders of France and the UK.

The attack raised the possibility of retaliation by Russian Federation or Iran, which also provides military support to Assad, threatening in particular to increase the risks facing a force of 2,000 Americans in Syria, as part of the battle against the Islamic State. "All of the sudden they care because there is chemical warfare, but I mean.millions of people have died", he said.

United States broadcaster NBC quoted USA officials familiar with the intelligence as saying they had now obtained blood and urine samples which had tested positive for chemical weapons.

This week, President Trump promised a "major announcement" on Syria in 48 hours.

"So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime", May said.

"President Obama declared a red line".

Douma and the sprawling eastern Ghouta region near the capital, Damascus, had been under rebel control since 2012 and was a thorn in the side of Assad's government, threatening his seat of power with missiles and potential advances for years.

Obama gave a speech saying the USA should act against Syria.

Mrs May authorised the strikes despite demands from opposition parties that Parliament was consulted before any military action was launched.

Over the next month, it appeared there was little support in Congress or among the USA public for military intervention. More than 1,300 tons of chemical agents were removed.

"Cabinet agreed that the Assad regime has a track record of the use of chemical weapons and it is highly likely that the regime is responsible for Saturday's attack", it said. They also said the conjunction with other countries has compiled intelligence, including images, that indicates the Assad regime carried out last weekend's fatal attack.

It's worth noting that more than a half million Syrians have died in the seven-year-old war (now entering its eighth year).

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