In Syria strikes, U.S. blurs red line for intervention

Fighter jets were seen taking off from a British Royal Air Force base in Cyprus early on Saturday

Later, a video showing Assad walking into his office carrying a briefcase was posted on the same account. That would include the reduction or removal of US forces in Korea over time as part of the required security guarantees.

The widely broadcast celebrations and the hastily organized police deployment in Douma appeared to be the government's response to the airstrikes.

Yet even The New York Times was moved to express concern that "the new strikes posed the risk of drawing the United States more deeply into a conflict in which Russian Federation and Iran have more invested than ever in keeping Mr. Assad in power".

Analysts view the latest retaliatory strikes by western powers as futile in a war that Assad instigated and won, after seven years of brutal fighting and the killing of more than 500,000 civilians.

Is it possible that Assad is behind the chemical-weapons attack?

On Saturday, Trump tweeted "Mission Accomplished", and the Pentagon said the strikes hit the "heart" of Syria's chemical program.

The Pentagon said Saturday's allied attack used double the missiles of the previous one, but analysts said that may not deter Assad's regime since using chemical weapons keeps government casualties on the battlefield down. Syria has denied the accusation.

French President Emmanuel Macron, however, on Sunday told a French television network that he had "convinced him that it's necessary to be there...we also convinced him that the strikes had to be limited to chemical weapons capabilities".

It "demands that the USA and its allies immediately and without delay cease the aggression against the Syrian Arab republic and demands also to refrain from any further use of force in violation of worldwide law and the United Nations charter". Earlier in the week, Germany said it would not participate in any airstrikes against the Syrian regime.

Damascus skies erupt with surface to air missile fire as the US launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018.

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Russian Army Colonel Gen. Sergey Rudskoy put a number to the claim, telling reporters that 71 of the cruise missiles were intercepted by Syria's air defense systems.

The US, UK, and France hit three targets in the Damascus suburbs around 9pm EDT on Friday using aircraft and cruise missiles launched from ships.

Damascus skies erupt with surface to air missile fire as the US launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early on April 14, 2018.

McKenzie said 105 USA and allied missiles were fired, of which 66 were Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from aboard three Navy ships and one Navy submarine.

The Syrian military said three civilians were wounded in one of the strikes in Homs.

"The three leaders agreed that the military strikes taken against the Syrian regime's chemical weapons sites had been a success", Downing Street said in a readout of the calls. The second option proposed targeting a broader set of Syrian targets, including "suspected chemical-weapons research facilities and military command centers". An official there said the facility was used by the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and helped develop cancer drugs.

The US, UK and France then circulated a new draft resolution to Security Council members, calling for an independent investigation into Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons. "We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized".

Syria's armed forces could resume using small amounts of chemicals that could be delivered by grenades.

The French leader said the allies were forced to act without an explicit United Nations mandate because of the "constant stalemate of the Russians" in the Security Council.

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