In a combined operation, the United States, Britain and France have launched a military operation against Syria early today in response to an alleged poison gas attack in Douma last week. Huge blasts were reported around Damascus early today, moments after the US, France, and Britain announced they were striking Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities. Announcing the military action from the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump said the joint action was meant to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons.
Shortly after Mr Trump’s announcement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described the attack as a one-time shot and said the strikes had ended. Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, said the precision strikes targeted a chemical weapons research facility near Damascus, a storage site near Homs and a nearby command post. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said the UK and France had joined the attack.
Theresa May said the attacks were not about regime change or intervening in a civil war, but were to deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement that he had ordered the French army to intervene as part of the international operation in coalition with the US and Britain.
Syrian state news agency SANA said that country’s air defences responded to the attack by shooting down several missiles. Stating that the tripartite aggression is a flagrant violation of international law, the agency said the attack had targeted army depots in the Homs area. The Russian Defense Ministry also said most missiles launched by the Western states on Syria had been downed by the Syrian air defences when approaching targets.
It said none of the cruise missiles launched by the US and its allies entered the zone of responsibility of the Russian air defences, covering objects in Tartus naval facility and Hmeymim airbase located in the Latakia province. Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said in a statement that such actions will not be left without consequences and all responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.
Meanwhile, UN chief Antonio Guterres today urged all the member states to show restraint and avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people. Stating that Syria indeed today represents the most serious threat to international peace and security, UN Chief said there is an obligation, when dealing with matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law.