US, allied strikes aimed at Syria's chemical weapons

US, allied strikes aimed at Syria's chemical weapons

"I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad", Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.

In his televised address from the White House on Friday evening, Trump said the USA was prepared to sustain economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until the Syrian leader ends what Trump called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

Earlier Thursday, Trump appeared to soften his rhetoric about imminent airstrikes on Syria, a day after warning Russian Federation that missiles "will be coming, nice and new and 'smart.'" In an early morning tweet and later in comments at the White House, Trump worked to cloud the timing of military action and said a final decision had not yet been made.

Trump has slammed Russian Federation for its partnership with "Gas Killing Animal" Assad, spurring concerns that a USA strike could lead to a conflagration with Russian Federation, which has major military facilities at Tartus and Khmeimim and works cheek-by-jowl with Syria forces that could be targeted.

Syria referred to US threats of missile strikes as "reckless escalation", the state news agency said.

Both Trump and his defence secretary Jim Mattis abruptly cancelled upcoming travel plans on Tuesday, as the USS Donald Cook - a guided-missile destroyer - moved to within striking range of Syria.

In response to Syria's latest chemical attack, however, President Trump is doing just what he used to say a president shouldn't do.

Syrian television called the attacks a "flagrant violation" of global law, and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, derided them as a "military crime".

"Syria's enemies are angry because of its military advances against terrorist groups", Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's top adviser, told Iranian state TV during his visit to eastern Ghouta's bomb-shattered ruins.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been coordinating closely with Washington, said he would decide on a response "in the coming days".

"Final decisions haven't been made yet", said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

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In a series of other tweets Wednesday, the president lamented the state of the USA relationship with Russian Federation and blasted Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as "corrupt". That attack triggered a swift decision by Trump to launch a fusillade of Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase. Following the recent chemical weapons attack, he agreed with Trump on the need for a "strong, joint response".

The Syrian government called his threats to attack "reckless", claiming they endanger worldwide peace and security, a report broadcast on state TV said.

A team of experts from the global chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was traveling to Syria and will start their investigations on Saturday, the Netherlands-based agency said.

Dozens of Douma inhabitants died and hundreds were injured in the attack, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The first thing we have to look at is why are chemical weapons still being used at all when Russian Federation was the framework guarantor of removing all the chemical weapons", Mattis said. And he insisted it remains USA policy not to be involved directly in Syria's civil war.

But the strike was limited and created to not draw America into the chaos of Syria's bloody civil war.

Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had brokered a deal with Syria's ally Russian Federation to remove chemical stockpiles from the country, a strategy that also failed.

"We also selected targets that would minimize the risks to innocent civilians", Mattis said. The Syrian government and Russian Federation have denied a chemical attack occurred.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria".

At the same time Mrs May is under pressure to give Parliament the chance to vote before committing United Kingdom forces to any new action in Syria, amid fears it could draw the West into direct conflict with Assad's main backer, Russia.

Macron said Thursday that France has proof that the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks and said France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted".

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