Syria say aggression will fail: SANA
They did it. In a biggest intervention by Western powers against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, coordinated campaign U.S., British and French forces pounded Syria with air strikes early on Saturday in response to the alleged poison gas attack that killed dozens of people last week in Douma.
CNN quoting US defense officials reports that Air-launched criose missiles were among the munitions used in the strikes. The missiles are fires from aircraft in flight and can be done from outside the range of the Syrian airspace. Earlier reports said that US B-1 bombers were used in the strikes.
According to Reuters, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the military action from the White House late on Friday. As he spoke, explosions rocked Damascus. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said the UK and France had joined in the attack.
Syrian standard time is seven hours ahead of Washington.
Trump said he was prepared to sustain the response until Assad’s government stopped its use of chemical weapons. Russia and Syria had denied use of chemical weapons and threatened for “consequences” if attacked.
The strikes are the biggest intervention by Western powers against Assad in the country’s seven-year-old crisis created by terrorist groups including Daesh (IS) and several anti-Assad groups. US forces are stationed in northern Syria, since 2015, without either UN mandate or Damascus invitation. Washington claim of fighting against terror groups in the country.
In an 8-minute televised address from white House Dnald Trump said, “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.”
He further said, “The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons.To Iran and to Russia, I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?”
Trump made clear that he is wary of a deeper entanglement in Syria, where about 2,000 U.S. troops have been deployed to fight Islamic State. “America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria,” he said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she had authorized British armed forces “to conduct coordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability.” She described it as a “limited and targeted strike” aimed at minimizing civilian casualties.
British Ministry of Defense, in a statement issued Saturday morning said it has joined in “a precision strike on Syrian installations involved in the regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people.”
It further said “the international community has responded decisively with legal and proportionate military force. Let these united actions send a clear message to the regime.”
A U.S. official told Reuters the strikes were aimed at multiple targets and involved Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron, said in a statement, The red lines set by France in May 2017 has been crossed. So, I ordered the French armed forces to intervene tonight, as part of an international operation in coalition with the USA and the UK and directed against the clandestine chemical arsenal of the Syrian regime.
According to Reuters report quoting an eyewitness in Damascus said that at least six loud explosions were heard in Damascus in the early hours of Saturday and smoke was seen rising over the Syrian capital. Another eyewitness say that Barzah district of Damascus had been hit in the strikes. A major scientific research center is located in the area.
At a Pentagon briefing, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said the targets included a Syrian research facility and a chemical weapons storage facility. Another official said that targets were being carefully selected with the aim of damaging Assad’s ability to conduct further gas attacks.
However, she said that the military action is not about intervening in Syria’s civil war or changing its government, she said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other military leaders had warned that the larger the attack, the greater the risk of a confrontation with Russia, two U.S. officials said.
Reacting to the strikes, Russian foreign ministry spokeswomen Maria Zakharavoa, in a statement on facebook, said the US struck when the country finally had a chance at peace. “One must be really exceptional to strike Syria’s capital when the country finally got a chance for a peaceful future.”
Syria has not reacted formally so far till 10.15 am (IST). However, Syrian official news agency SANA carried a Damascus overview picture with a caption “Damascus morning is stronger than their aggression and terrorism. In Another brief reaction, the website carried a brief text quoted sources saying “when terrorists failed the USA, France and Britain intervened and committed aggression against Syria.” It further says “The American, French and British aggression against Syria will fail.”