US, UK, France launch precision strikes on Syria

Syria and Russia deny they used chemical weapons on the town of Douma

"A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad", Mr Trump said in a televised address from the White House.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned such an attack carried the risk of spinning out of control, suggesting caution ahead of a decision on how to respond to an attack against civilians last weekend that USA officials are increasingly certain involved the use of banned chemical weapons.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said there were no reports of U.S. losses during the initial airstrikes.

The strikes are in response to a suspected gas attack on the rebel-held city of Douma last weekend.

Mattis said he personally believes Syria is guilty of an "inexcusable" use of chemical weapons, while noting that the worldwide fact-finding team would likely fall short of determining who was responsible. In the last hours before these strikes launched, the Pentagon was busily letting the USA and global public know that it did not want to escalate military tensions with Russian Federation - and opposed the White House aim of a military strike in Syria that would be significantly bigger than the one administered a year ago, while punishing Iran and Russian Federation as well as Assad. "I can't go beyond that", Sanders told reporters.

Macron said the attack had been limited so far to Syria's chemical weapons facilities.

President Trump has expressed outrage over the deadly assault in the suburb, Douma, and threatened a military response. Russian Federation has told the United States and its allies not to carry out any military strike.

Russia, which has stonewalled diplomatic efforts at the UN Security Council, has vehemently denied a chemical attack took place and accused the West of seeking an excuse for military action.

Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had "proof" that the Syrian government had attacked Douma with chemical weapons, without giving further details. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Western intervention in Syria would "lead to new waves of migrants to Europe".




The strategic risk is more political; to prove to President Assad that he can still be hurt even under Russian protection and that...

The capture of Douma from rebels who evacuated this week has clinched a major victory for Assad, crushing what was once a center of the insurgency near Damascus, and underlines his seemingly unassailable position in the war.

This is breaking news - more to come.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stated Friday that chemical weapons were used in an attack in Syria that left scores dead and she blamed Russian Federation for complicity, as the Trump administration continues to weigh how to retaliate and Russian Federation maintains its denial that the attack took place.

"Our president has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria".

The United States launched strikes against multiple sites in Syria on Friday night.

"All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons". The national parliament, which his allies control, is now considering legislation targeting a wide range of US exports and intellectual property.

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he sees no legal justification for a US strike in Syria, absent explicit authorization by Congress.

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