01:21OPCW to Start Investigation Into Alleged Chemical Attack in Syria's Douma

Adjust Comment Print

The United States and its allies fired more than 100 missiles at Syria on Friday in a "one-time shot" the Pentagon said followed evidence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack using at least chlorine gas.

President Donald Trump late Friday announced the launch of a joint US-British-French operation targeting Syria's "criminal" regime in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack that he called a "significant escalation" in the crisis. Trump wrote in a Thursday morning tweet that an attack could happen "very soon or not so soon at all". Estimates of civilian casualties ranged from 21 to more than 78.

Also on Friday, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said that Syria had provided the full facilitation to the OPCW team to conduct its probe in a transparent manner.

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he sees no legal justification for a US strike in Syria, absent explicit authorization by Congress.

Mr Trump said the United States was not seeking an "indefinite presence" in Syria. There is tyranny." He called the Middle East a "troubled place. We have to make some further decisions.

"America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria".

The attack in Douma complicated Trump's plans for the region. Or last weekend's tweet may simply have been another facet of his rage and frustration at authority figures who fail to yield before him.

Hopes of averting a direct confrontation rose, however, after Trump seemed to hold off as he consulted allies, and a senior Russian official said the envoy's threats had been misinterpreted.

California to give Trump some National Guard patrols at Mexican border
Texas , meanwhile, has sent 250 National Guard troops to the U.S. -Mexico border since Trump made the announcement. He says they will not "round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life".

"It's also highly likely an attempt to create complications for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons mission which was just starting its work in Syria's Douma, or an attempt to completely derail it", Kosachev was quoted as saying.

Iran and Russian Federation have backed Assad in his effort to defeat rebels that sought to overthrow him since he moved to suppress a groundswell of protests at the height of the Arab Spring movement.

Russian Federation has also denied the use chemical weapons in Syria, accusing Britain on Friday of staging a fake attack in Douma.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by Russia Friday that "there is no military solution to the conflict". The U.S. has about 2,000 troops in northeastern Syria where they have worked with Kurdish fighters against the Islamic State.

Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had "proof" that the Syrian government had attacked Douma with chemical weapons, without giving further details.

As part of his "America First" campaign pledge, Trump had promised to remove the USA from costly and prolonged foreign entanglements.

Less than a month ago, Trump said he wanted to bring U.S troops home from Syria.

Western powers weighed their options on Friday over possible strikes against Syria's regime as pressure built to avoid an escalation and Russian Federation stepped up its warnings against military action which it said could lead to "war". Former Pentagon and White House security official Julieanne Smith pointed out on Twitter Friday night that neither needed to restrict their responses to Syria and could threaten USA forces and interests elsewhere around the globe if they chose.

Comments