US President Donald Trump has approved military strikes in Syria in retaliation for the alleged chemical attack by the Assad government in Douma, near Damascus, last week.
“A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said in a televised address from the White House. He added that a combined military operation by the US, the UK and France is already underway in Syria.
The US-led intervention in Syria comes just hours before the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts were scheduled to visit the Damascus suburb of Douma on Saturday to determine whether chemical weapons had been used there last week.
Shortly after Trump’s announcement, a statement from UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she had authorized British forces to conduct “coordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability.”
French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that he ordered French forces to carry out a military action against Syria in coalition with the US and France. “The facts and the responsibility of the Syrian regime are beyond doubt,” he said in a statement issued by his office, accusing Damascus of crossing “a red line” set by France in May of last year.
Macron said that France’s response was “limited” and solely aimed at “the capabilities of the Syrian regime for the production and use of chemical weapons.”
The UK defense ministry stated that the strike was executed by four Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s, that launched Storm Shadow missiles at what the UK military claims was a former missile base, some 15 miles west of Homs. The ministry claimed that the Syrian government keeps a stockpile of chemical weapons precursors at the site, thus violating the Chemical Weapons Convention, of which it is a party.
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