Strike against Syria draws mixed reactions

Sean Reid
April 17, 2018

Washington described the strike targets as a centre near Damascus for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological weapons; a chemical weapons storage site near the city of Homs; and another site near Homs that stored chemical weapons equipment and housed a command post.

The action was in response to a recent attack in the town of Douma which killed more than 40 people and sickened hundreds more.

Haley said Trump told her the "locked and loaded" should the Syrian government continue to launch chemical weapons attacks against civilians. He said $400 billion would be needed to restore Syria's economy and called the coalition missile strikes "an act of aggression".

A coalition of ships and bombers hammered three Syrian chemical weapons sites with 105 weapons on Friday night in an escalated response created to smash the Assad regime's capacity to use chemical weapons like chlorine and sarin gas.

Assad and Russian Federation deny using chemical weapons, the trigger for the strikes early on Saturday.

Guterres said he has asked Syrian special envoy Staffan de Mistura to come to NY as soon as possible to consult "on the most effective way to accelerate the political process".

A resolution put forth by Russian Federation here at the UN Security Council condemning the missile attack was rejected.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said troops would not be removed until ISIS was defeated, chemical weapons no longer threatened USA interests and it could ensure the monitoring of Iranian activity.

Last Sunday, the pope denounced a reported gas attack in Syria as an unjustifiable use of "instruments of extermination".

The U.S., U.K., and France launched airstrikes on the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria earlier on Saturday.

Mr Johnson's comments echoed those of USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who told an emergency Security Council meeting that Mr Trump told her that if Syria uses poisonous gas again, "the United States is locked and loaded".

Nikki Haley said: "When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line".

"I urge all member states to show restraint in these risky circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate matters and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people", the UN Secretary General said.

Assad told his visitors that the U.S., Britain and France, which carried out the strikes, had waged a campaign of "lies and misinformation" against Russian Federation and Syria.

'I appeal again to all the political leaders, so that justice and peace prevail, ' he said in his weekly address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Mr Assad said that he believed that the airstrikes would unify the country, according to Dmitry Sablin who was one of his visitors. It was not clear when the visit would take place. Macron said in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news that he had convinced Trump to focus on the chemical weapons sites.

McKenzie said the operation was "precise, overwhelming, and effective", adding it will set Syria's chemical-weapons program back "for years".

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