Friday, 22 June, 2018


Syrian citizens and rebels expect no change after missile strikes

West on dubious legal ground in weighing Syria strikes experts West on dubious legal ground in weighing Syria strikes experts
Hannah Rogers | 15 April, 2018, 09:01

During a United Nations Security Council meeting held at Russia's request to discuss the strikes, the U.S. warned that it was "locked and loaded", ready to launch more military strikes on Syria if President Bashar al-Assad's forces carry out a new chemical weapons attack.

Pentagon officials had anxious that the predawn attack could escalate into a wider conflict, deepening US involvement in Syria only weeks after President Donald Trump said the USA would withdraw from the country.

Unlike the attack a year ago, in which American forces unilaterally fired cruise missiles at Syria, this latest assault was carried out in cooperation with USA allies France and Britain.

Both the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad and its ally Russian Federation have denied all responsibility.

"When it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday. The Pentagon said the attacks delivered a "very serious blow" in the way of crippling Syria's chemical weapons capability.

Moscow has denounced the attack on its ally by the U.S., Britain and France.

In a televised statement late Friday, Trump blasted both countries for supporting Assad.

President Donald Trump is asking for a "prayer for our noble warriors" as he concludes his remarks announcing strikes on targets associated with the Syrian chemical weapons program.

"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.

"I spoke to the president this morning and he said: 'If the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded, '" Haley said at emergency Security Council talks.

Trump drew some criticism for his choice of words: former president George W Bush notoriously stood on an aircraft carrier just a few weeks after the initial Iraq invasion in 2003 in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

"The OPCW used to stay in the two upper rooms, and use the labs, and we would cooperate with them completely", he said.

Responding to Trump's announcement on Friday, Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said: "I support both the action and objective".

Saturday's meeting, like the one that took place on Friday just hours ahead of the strike that took out a research facility, storage bunkers, and other infrastructure that supports Syria's chemical weapons program, was requested by Russian Federation. "So, I ordered the French armed forces to intervene tonight, as part of an global operation in coalition with the United States of America and the United Kingdom and directed against the clandestine chemical arsenal of the Syrian regime".

The U.S., France and Britain launched over 100 missiles in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. Warships fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired at a Syrian airfield after a sarin attack. Fox News reported that us military strikes would "go forward in Syria" and said the decision was made by Trump on the evening of April 13.

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the only communications that took place between the United States and Russian Federation before the operation were "the normal deconfliction of the airspace, the procedures that are in place for all of our operations in Syria".

What have France, the United States and the United Kingdom said?

· Dunford said that the U.S. did not notify Russia of the strikes ahead of time, while French Defense Minister Florence Parly said that the Russians had been warned in advance.

Last year, the airbase was a single target - the Shayrat airbase - that base that was believed to be where the Syrian regime's chemical weapons attack originated.

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

Following the horrors of World War I a century ago, civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare.

European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc "supports all efforts aimed at the prevention of the use of chemical weapons".

"By its actions, the USA is increasingly aggravating the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, bringing sufferings to civilians and actually conniving at terrorists who have been tormenting the Syrian people for seven years and provoking a new wave of refugees from that country and the region as a whole", it said.

"So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime", May said.

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