The United States of America, and its allies – The United Kingdom and France have launched air strikes in Syria targeting what they allege are chemical weapons facilities in response to chemical weapons attack in Douma, a Damascus suburb, last week.
The Pentagon said the air strikes, which began in the wee hours of Saturday, involved planes and ship-launched missiles, more than a hundred weapons in all.
US officials say the strikes were targeted at three facilities: a scientific research centre in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, and another storage site and command post nearby.
“I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” United States President Donald Trump said early Saturday at the White House.
“We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” he said.
Referring to last Saturday’s chemical weapons attack reported to have killed over 70 people, Trump said. “These are not actions of a man, they are crimes of a monster instead.”
After Donald Trump finished his seven-minute address, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron made separate announcements of British and French participation, stressing that the strikes were limited to Syrian regime chemical facilities.
May said there was no alternative to the action the three countries were taking.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he “ordered the French armed forces to intervene” after a “red line set by France” on the use of chemical weapons had been crossed.
The office of the French President posted a video of a squadron of French military jets taking off to launch their part of the strikes.
US Secretary of Defence James Mattis told journalists there were no reports of US losses in the operation.
In his earlier address, President Trump had said:
“We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”
But Secretary Mattis said that “right now, this is a one-time shot”. Gen Dunford confirmed the wave of strikes had ended.