Syria strikes: The real impact is in Moscow

Getty								Trump and Assad

Getty Trump and Assad

President Donald Trump on Saturday declared "Mission Accomplished" for a USA -led allied missile attack on Syria's chemical weapons program, but the Pentagon said the pummeling of three chemical-related facilities left enough others intact to enable the Assad government to use banned weapons against civilians if it chooses.

Syria has been attacked just as it had a chance for peace, Russia's Foreign Ministry said earlier, hours after US, British and French forces pounded Damascus with air strikes in response to a suspected poison gas attack last week.

The Russian military had previously said Syria's Soviet-made air defense systems downed 71 out of 103 cruise missiles launched by the United States and its allies. Western powers published evidence on Saturday explaining their conclusion that Assad was responsible for the strike, which, according to USA officials, deployed both chlorine and sarin from helicopters only in possession of the Assad regime.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the overnight US-led missile attack on Syria and called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the Kremlin has said.

"It does not exist anymore", he said, while noting that some facilities associated with the Syrian chemical weapons enterprise were not targeted and thus remain available to Assad.

Assad's Barzah research and development centre in Damascus was destroyed, McKenzie said. CNN has been unable to verify this report.

Warning that the strike will exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and provoke a new wave of refugees from the country and the region as a whole, he said the current escalation will have a devastating impact on the whole system of global relations. It remains to be seen whether the strikes will actually stop Assad from using chemical weapons. However, he maintained that "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria".

Pentagon, at a press briefing on the strike at 10 p.m., said the strikes did maximum damages to Assad's regime's chemical weapons sites.

The Syrian government surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons during a process monitored by the OPCW in 2014.

Although officials said the singular target was Assad's chemical weapons capability, his air force, including helicopters he allegedly has used to drop chemical weapons on civilians, were spared.

- French forces used Mirage and Rafale fighter jets with four frigate warships to launch 12 cruise missiles. French naval forces in the Mediterranean also were involved, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said.

- The Russian embassy in the USA said it had warned that such actions would "not be left without consequences", adding that insulting President Vladimir Putin was "unacceptable and inadmissible". The White House said Thursday he would consult further with allies.

All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London, and Paris.

Have Syria and Russian Federation responded?

For his part, Rouhani expressed his strongest condemnation of the joint missile attack by the US, Britain and France, while reaffirming Iran's support for the Syrian government. He added that Russian Federation will call an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council against the strike that had a "destructive influence on the entire system of worldwide relations".

"Important to now avoid further escalation, that the UN-led political process can continue", he posted.

President Bashar al-Assad told Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani that the Western attack would only increase Syria's resolve to "fight and crush terrorism in every inch" of the country, Reuters reported.

The UN Security Council called an emergency session for Saturday morning at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had denied that Syria used chemical weapons and strongly condemned the attacks as destabilizing worldwide order.

Earlier, the office of the Syrian Presidency tweeted a video of Assad going to work Saturday, with the caption "a morning of steadfastness".

Meanwhile, Britain's main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the US-led military strikes on Syria jointly staged by three leading Western countries as a "legally questionable action", saying that the British government should "not taking instructions from Washington".

What have we learned about the Douma attack?

"More than 70 people sheltering in basements have reportedly died, with 43 of those deaths related to symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals", the organization said.

The Syrian Government has categorically denied the accusation. At that time, former United States president Barack Obama declined to strike at Assad militarily in the aftermath of a sarin attack that killed hundreds of children, in exchange for removal of his chemical weapons stockpiles, and for access for the UN's Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to monitor their destruction. A fact-finding team of inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog was in Damascus and had been expected to head to the town of Douma on Saturday, scene of the suspected chemical weapons attack that killed more than 40 people.

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