Saturday, 17 April, 2021


Activists worry USA airstrikes won't deter Assad: 'Mission not accomplished'

Smoke billows in the town of Douma in Syria's Eastern Ghouta Smoke billows in the town of Douma in Syria's Eastern Ghouta
Bennie Garza | 15 April, 2018, 11:18

But the vote at the end of an emergency meeting called by Russian Federation also demonstrated again the paralysis of the UN's most powerful body in dealing with Syria's seven-year conflict.

The combined US-French-British operation, which saw more than 100 cruise missiles smash into three chemical weapons facilities early Saturday, earned quick scorn from Russian Federation, which pushed for a vote at the UN Security Council condemning the strikes.

"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded", Haley said.

As of Saturday, neither Syria nor its Russian or Iranian allies retaliated, US officials said, though Assad has denied that he used chemical weapons in the April 7 attack in Douma that killed as many as 70 people and injured 1,000 others.

Although the operation was secretly unfolding for hours before the first impact on Saturday, it only took minutes from the first to the last detonation from 105 precision-guided missile strikes on three Syrian chemical weapons targets, officials said.

Douma was the site of the suspected April 7 chemical weapons attack and also the last rebel-held town in the eastern Ghouta region that was once a sprawling rebel-held bastion at the doors of the capital.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council "there is clear information demonstrating Assad's culpability".

Despite Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement Saturday night, suggesting that "the United States, France and the United Kingdom demonstrated that their commitment is not limited to proclamations of principle", the Israeli defense apparatus is concerned that Russian Federation use the excuse of Friday's attack to sell its advanced weapons systems to the Syrians.

"When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line".

"The United States of America will not allow the Assad regime to continue using chemical weapons".

He said there were no known civilian casualties, but noted Syria had fired about 40 unguided surface-to-air missiles, most of which did not launch until after the allied strike was over.

Mr Trudeau said in a press conference that it was "unfortunate" military action was needed to degrade the use of chemical weapons.

Officials said this did not include giving Russian advance notice of where or when allied airstrikes would happen. They say the strikes are punishment for killing dozens of people, many of them women and children, with banned toxic munitions.

Eight members opposed the resolution, including the U.S.and European allies on the council. She says her grandchildren escaped Syria as the civil war was beginning, and her 86-year-old mother left the country just two weeks ago.

Britain believes "that is wholly within the principles and practices of the United Nations", she said.

"Today is not the day to shirk your responsibilities", he said.

Addressing the council, USA ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the United States was confident that the military strikes had crippled Syria's chemical weapons program.

Moving to return to diplomacy, France said it was working with the United States and Britain on a draft resolution that would address chemical weapons use, the humanitarian crisis, and the future of the peace process in Syria.

Security permitting, a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will deploy briefly on Saturday to the site.

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