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Pentagon: Syria strikes put chemical weapons program back years

Pentagon: Syria strikes put chemical weapons program back years

The Syrian government has denied responsibility and Russian Federation has suggested Israel or Britain was to blame, the latter to justify increased western intervention into the war-ravaged country.

Sana, Syria's official state news agency, called the Western action "a flagrant violation of worldwide law". "Our warnings have been left unheard.We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences", Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said in a statement.

Following the announcement, the U.S. said strikes had been launched at 9pm EST (2am BST) and had destroyed important infrastructure at three sites connected with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons programme. "Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military".

Earlier on Saturday, President Emmanuel Macron also said France and its partners "will renew their efforts at the United Nations to allow the establishment of an global mechanism to establish responsibility, prevent impunity and prevent any recurrence by the Syrian regime". As he spoke, explosions rocked Damascus.

Friday's joint airstrikes hit three targets associated with Syrian President Bashar Assad's chemical weapon program, including a scientific research center in Damascus, chemical weapon storage facilities and a command post.

Mrs May said "every possible diplomatic channel" had been explored before authorising the strikes, adding that it was not a decision she had taken lightly.

At least three US ships, as well as piloted warplanes, participated in the airstrikes. "I am confident the Syrian regime conducted a chemical weapons attack against its people", he said. "Russia strongly condemns the attack on Syria where Russian servicemen are helping the legitimate government in the war on terrorism", the president stressed.

A senior official in a pro-Assad regional alliance told Reuters that "all military bases were evacuated a few days ago" after an early warning from Russian Federation about the strikes.

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For his part, Rouhani expressed his strongest condemnation of the joint missile attack by the U.S., Britain and France, while reaffirming Iran's support for the Syrian government.

The U.K. -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian war through activists on the ground, said the strikes had also targeted positions of elite Republican Guard forces.

"Dozens of men, women and children were massacred with chemical weapons", he said of the Douma incident a week ago - adding that "the red line had been crossed".

The joint military campaign drew a swift and harsh response from Russian Federation, a key Syrian ally and its strongest partner.

"To Iran, and to Russian Federation, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?" he asked.

The British Prime Minister insisted that military action against Bashar Assad's regime was a limited strike in response to the "harrowing" chemical weapons attack in Douma and was not about regime change. He said the targets were "selected. carefully to minimize the risk to innocent civilians" and that he was unaware of any civilian casualties from the operation.

"Mission accomplished" is the same phrase former President George W. Bush infamously used in 2003, after the USA -led invasion of Iraq.

Other strikes targeted an army depot near Homs.


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