France orders military action in Syria with US, Britain

France orders military action in Syria with US, Britain

The strikes hit three sites - one in Damascus and two in Homs - which US President Donald Trump said were "associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad".

The British Prime Minister detailed "limited and targeted strikes" on chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

A chemical weapons storage facility, located west of Homs.

Mr Trump said the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons on Douma was a "significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very awful regime".

Trump continued: "Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace".

Assad's recent attack - and today's response - are the direct result of Russia's failure to keep that promise. Again, we are being threatened.

Trump's United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, said the president had not yet made a final decision, two days after he tweeted that Russian Federation should "get ready" because a missile attack "will be coming" at Moscow's chief Middle East ally.

The French air force has been active in Syria since 2015 to fight Islamic State, but had not targeted government targets until now.

At least six loud explosions were heard in Damascus and smoke was seen rising over the city, a Reuters witness said. Britain's defence ministry said "very careful scientific analysis" had been applied to maximise the destruction of stockpiled chemicals while minimising any risk of contamination to surrounding areas.

The strikes had been expected since harrowing footage surfaced of the aftermath of the alleged toxic gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma, which took place a week ago, and Trump reacted in an emotional tweet.

In this handout provided by the U.S. Navy, The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter fires a Tomahawk land attack missile on April 7, 2017 in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Russian military says Syria's Soviet-made air defense systems have shot down all 12 cruise missile aimed at a Syrian air base.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Friday night that the three allies had launched military strikes to punish Assad and to prevent him from using chemical weapons again.

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As ISIS captured a wide swath of Iraq and Syria in 2014, the United States began conducting air strikes against the group and shifted its Syria policy to fighting the militants.

PARIS, April 14 (Reuters) - France said on Saturday it would not hesitate to strike Syrian government targets again if the chemical red line was crossed, but that no new strikes were planned at this stage, adding that it would renew a push for peace through dialogue with Russian Federation. Russian Federation is calling for an immediate United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the "aggressive actions" of the United States and its allies, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said in a statement.

Evidence that the nerve agent sarin also was used is inconclusive, he said.

Allegations of Assad's chlorine use are frequent in Syria's conflict, raising questions about whether Washington had lowered the threshold for military action in Syria by now made a decision to strike after a chlorine gas attack.

In a Saturday statement, the Iranian Foreign Ministry denounced the US-led coalition's attacks on Syria as "a flagrant breach of global laws" and "a violation of Syria's right to national sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Asked if the U.S. and its allies would continue military operations, he said: "That will depend on Mr Assad should he decide to use more chemical weapons in the future, and of course the powers that have signed the Chemical Weapons Prohibition (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) have every reason to challenge Assad should he choose to violate that". There has been no other official Israeli response yet.

The Syrian conflict pits a complex myriad of parties against each other with Russian Federation and Iran giving Assad military and political help while fractured opposition forces have had varying levels of support at different times from the West, Arab states and Turkey.

However, Trump added the USA "does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria".

The logic behind this attack is to show that the United States is committed to retaliatory strikes any time the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons.

An Israeli official told CNN that the strikes enforced the red line drawn by President Trump previous year. Russian air defences based in Syria were not used, the ministry said.

While a full assessment has not yet been completed, "we believe that the action was successful", she said.

Trump said the mandate for an allied attack was open-ended, but Pentagon chiefs later said the strikes Friday would be repeated only if Assad took further action that warranted a response.

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