Vladimir Putin condemns US-led airstrikes on Syria

Vladimir Putin condemns US-led airstrikes on Syria

"Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime", said Mattis, adding that White and Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie would speak "in effort to maintain transparency and accuracy". He acknowledged, however, that Syria retained "residual" capacity, but gave no details on the scope of what could be left.

The targets included a scientific research facility near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs, and a third location near Homs that contained both a command post and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility, the USA military said.

The officials said the operation was carefully orchestrated and methodically planned to minimize potential damage, adding the USA is not aware of any civilian casualties. The general also denied assertions from Russian officials that some incoming missiles were intercepted by the Soviet-made antimissile batteries used by Syrian forces.

The rhetoric from Syria's backers was harsh.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the actions of the USA and its allies, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged respect for the UN charter and worldwide law.

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

The UN Council is set to meet at Russia's request to discuss the US-led airstrikes, which were executed on three targets believed to be the centre of the Assad-regime's chemical program operations.

Exactly a week after a suspected chemical attack that medics say killed dozens of civilians in the rebel town of Douma, the United States, France and Britain acted on their retaliation threats. "We're confident that we've significantly degraded his ability ever to use chemical weapons again".

Washington, Paris and London said they have proof, without identifying it, that chlorine gas caused victims to suffocate.

Jaish al-Islam, the group that held Douma, said it only abandoned the town because of the chemical attack.

For the moment, the likelihood of more military action appeared diminished.

USA officials said Saturday that they believed the strikes would prevent future chemical attacks by the Syrian regime, but warned that the US was prepared to "sustain" its operation if Assad continues his aggressions. "Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military", Trump tweeted early Saturday. "Could not have had a better result", Trump tweeted Saturday. Just weeks ago, Trump said he wanted to end USA involvement in Syria and bring American troops home to focus on the homeland.

The escalation was quickly met with strong words from Syria's backers Iran and Russia, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling the strikes an "act of aggression against a sovereign state".

Joint forces targeted three sites at the heart of Syria's chemical weapons programme yesterday, killing 40 civilians. Syrian air defenses hit several incoming missiles, state-run media said. The Pentagon also employed the B-1 strategic bomber. The NATO alliance gave its full backing; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels that the attack was about ensuring that chemical weapons can not be used with impunity. An initial team of inspectors had only arrived in Syria on Friday. Assad is indeed a "monster", as Trump described him during his address to the nation on Friday night.

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"Nothing is certain in these kinds of matters", he said.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said this year's strikes involved about "double" the number of weapons.

Though, report about Syria said that "Non-governmental medical organizations active in Ghouta (the Syrian American Medical Society and the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations), whose information is generally reliable, publicly stated that strikes had targeted in particular local medical infrastructure on 6 and 7 April".

"If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here". He criticized the US and its allies for launching the strike without waiting for worldwide inspectors to complete their visit to the area.

The report showed people waving Syrian flags, alongside those of Iran and Russia- the main allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad during years of the country's conflict - in the face of what many called "limited" or even "failed" strikes created to punish Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons.

Trump's anger was shared by France's President Emmanuel Macron, who signed his country up for a joint response.

The U.S. had no coordination or agreements with Russians before the strike, McKenzie said.

After Obama drew his infamous "red line" Assad killed almost 1,500 civilians, including more than 400 children with chemical weapons in August 2013.

The Pentagon on Saturday echoed the President's assessment.

President Bashar al-Assad has been in power in Syria since 2000. The British fired eight long-range air-to-ground missiles from Tornado and Typhoon fighters.

So, how did these latest strikes differ from the ones conducted a year ago?

Disputing the Russian military's contention that Syrian air defense units downed 71 allied missiles, McKenzie said no US or allies missiles were stopped.

· Syria and its allies, Russian Federation and Iran, have repeatedly called the alleged gas attack in Douma a "fabrication" used to justify military intervention.

"What happens next has everything to do with what the Assad regime decides to do, and it has everything to do with what the Russian government decides to enable", White said.

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