Tensions keep rising over poison gas attack in Syria

Why isolationist Trump changed his tune after chemical attack

Following the sarin attack in Damascus in 2013 the Syrian regime committed to dismantling its chemical weapon program and Russian Federation committed to ensuring Syria did this.

Haley said that the president would not be rushed into a decision.

Following the announcement, the USA 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.

"This is a chess game and the Russians are ratcheting up the pressure", a USA official told VOA on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

Defense officials from the countries involved in the attack gave differing accounts of how much warning was given to the Russians, Syria's powerful ally.

NBC News could not verify that claim. Militarily, it is a strike against Syria.

"Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message a year ago", Mattis said.

Speaking this morning Mrs May said it was "right and legal" to take military action on the regime together with our closest global allies.

In April 2017, the USA fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in retaliation to a chemical attack that killed over 100 people.

"I believe that the action taken will have significantly degraded the Syrian regime's ability to use chemical weapons", she said.

But a US official familiar with the military planning said there could be more air strikes if the intelligence indicates that Assad has not stopped manufacturing, importing, storing or using chemical weapons, including weaponized chlorine.

State-controlled Syrian TV said Syrian air defenses shot down 13 missiles fired in the attack. They're an effective weapon of terror, one that fits horrifically well with the Assad regime's strategy of crushing the rebels and their civilian supporters' will to fight.

U.S. defense sources said at least one United States warship in the Red Sea participated in the Syrian airstrikes.

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Moscow said none of the missiles hit its Hmeimim airbase or its naval facility at Tartus adding that it did not activate its own sophisticated air defence systems.

People gather at the Umayyad Square in Damascus on April 14.

Russian Federation has condemned US, UK and French strikes against targets in Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons, as the Western allies argued they were essential to deter the future use of illegal munitions.

"A significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian regime was responsible for this attack", she said.

In a press conference on Saturday, May reiterated her conviction that Assad's government forces were behind last week's chemical attack and diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis would not be effective.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that 12 cruise missiles have been launched at the Dumayr air base east of Damascus. "I think that's what the president is trying to do and I think he did the right thing". She said speed was essential and that military action was in the national interest.

"This action was proportionate and targeted, it was not aimed at (Syrian President Bashar al) Assad's allies nor at the civilian population", Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a televised statement.

"We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", President Trump said in announcing the strikes from the White House.

French President Emmanuel Macron agreed with May's sentiment and said "the red line set by France in May 2017 has been crossed".

On April 9, United States ambassador at the UN, Nikki Haley, says Washington is determined to "see the monster who dropped chemical weapons on the Syrian people is held to account".

Over the previous year, almost 100 per cent of the territory once controlled by the so-called ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq has been liberated and eliminated.

Russian Federation and Iran warned of "consequences" after the strike.

Russia, which intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad, has denied there was a chemical attack and has accused Britain of helping to stage the Douma incident to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

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