US, allies attacking Syria to stop chemical weapon

A man walks with his bicycle at a damaged site in the besieged town of Douma

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was set to begin its investigation inside the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on Saturday, just hours after the strikes.

Only Syrian air defense systems had responded to the strikes, US officials confirmed.

No more attacks are planned, said Mr Mattis, unless Mr Assad uses chemical weapons again.

Nasr al-Hariri, president of the mainstream Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC), said Assad would keep using other deadly weapons.

"And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian regime is responsible for this latest attack". He said the fate of that region "lies in the hands of its own people". Syrian state television claimed some of the missiles were shot down by the government's air defence systems.

According to the Russian military, the massive missile strike on objects of military and civilian infrastructure was conducted by United States warships jointly with the UK and French air forces at 3:42-5:10 Moscow time.

Anatoly Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the USA, said that "we are being threatened".

The "highly successful" mission, came after a barrel bomb was reportedly dropped from a helicopter in last week's Douma chemical attack.

"Military action was necessary and appropriate to safeguard the effectiveness of the global ban on the use of chemical weapons, and to warn the Syrian regime of further violations", she said in a statement.

Nato Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg tweeted support for the strikes, saying those who use chemical weapons "must be held accountable". The operation was carried out at 3am (0100 GMT), she said, adding naval and air means had been used, including an air raid launched from several air bases in France.

A YouGov poll for The Times newspaper this week indicated that only a fifth of voters believed that Britain should launch attacks on Syrian military targets and more than two-fifths opposed action.

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Since the US and its allies attacked Syria Friday in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks on its own people, there has been a significant surge in Russian trolls promoting fake news, the Pentagon announced Saturday.

Defence Minister Florence Parly said cruise missiles had been fired, in coordination with the United States and Britain.

"I urge all member states to show restraint in these unsafe circumstances".

Among the sites reportedly hit overnight Friday was the Scientific Studies and Research Centre, a facility that has played a key role in Syria's chemical weapons program since the1970s.

May will address Parliament - where she doesn't have a majority - next week. The strikes "successfully hit every target" and the allies "took every measure and caution" to only hit the intended targets, White said Saturday morning.

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

In a statement Friday night, U.S. President Donald Trump outlined strikes being carried out against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad after a chemical weapon attack earlier in the week.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the US-led missile attack on Syria would lead to more destruction in the Middle East, according to Iran's Tasnim news agency.

Washington, Paris and London have nevertheless insisted that their own secret intelligence points to Assad's guilt, and on Friday, a U.S. spokeswoman said they had "proof".

Anti-aircraft fire is seen over Damascus, Syria early April 14, 2018.

Former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband, now head of humanitarian relief group the International Rescue Committee, said military action needed to be part of a wider political strategy.

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