Syria: UN Security Council meets over US-led air strikes

Adjust Comment Print

The United States, along with the United Kingdom and France, launched coordinated air strikes Friday evening on Syria's chemical weapons capabilities in response to an alleged chemical attack.

Only three countries - Russia, China, and Bolivia - voted in favor of the resolution at the end of an emergency meeting of the 15-member council called by Russia on Saturday. Putin added that the strike had a "destructive influence on the entire system of global relations".

Al Siofi said the world is still missing the more important issue: That civilians are dying at an alarming rate in Syria because of non-chemical weapons.

In the wake of last weekend's attack, some USA officials advocated a larger strike than the limited action Trump ordered in April 2017, also in response to suspected chemical weapons use.

"The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air". He said the installations that produced chlorine gas and sarin, a deadly nerve agent, were damaged or destroyed. On April 7, more than 40 civilians were killed in a suspected chemical attack in Douma.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed the Kremlin's skepticism about the allies' Douma claim, saying Russian military experts had found no trace of the attack.

A total of 105 missiles were launched in the strikes, according to the Pentagon.

Mr Trudeau says it was "unfortunate it was required to take direct military actions to degrade the use of chemical weapons by the murderous Assad regime".

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said Saturday that the USA was "locked and loaded" if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people again.

Haley said the airstrikes did not change US strategy in Syria. "This is hard to do in a situation like this", he said, in light of the volatility of chemical agents.

The Pentagon rejected Russian claims that numerous missiles were shot down by Syria.

Shortly after the airstrikes began, President Donald Trump said all three sites were "associated" with the Syria's chemical weapon program. "It will be carried out at Russia's initiative", spokeswoman for the Russian mission Olga Zhigalova said. The president largely listened as Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps General Joe Dunford and other military leaders did most of the talking. Gen. Ali Mayhoub said that the Scientific Research Center in Barzeh near Damascus was hit, while three people were injured in Homs when a missile was targeted.

Pictures show the before and after images of a research centre and a chemical weapons bunker hit by missiles yesterday. He said he believes those fixed storage facilities remain intact or were only slightly moved around.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal in a statement said Pakistan condemned the use of chemical weapons anywhere by anyone. "But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted" by Syria and Russian Federation, she said.

"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved", General Dunford told reporters, adding the USA military advised Russia of airspace that would be used in the strike but did not "pre-notify them". "This is not about intervening in a civil war".

But British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was little doubt the Syrian government used a barrel bomb - large containers packed with fuel, explosives and scraps of metal - to deliver the chemicals at Douma.

The language suggests that Trump remains hesitant to engage militarily in the war-torn country, and in the wider region, which he called a "troubled place".

Since last year's strike, multiple chemical attacks have been reported in opposition areas, majority involving chlorine rather than the nerve agent sarin, as was used in 2017, suggesting that the government may have adjusted its tactics.

"Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message past year".

Disputing the Russian military's contention that Syrian air defense units downed 71 allied missiles, McKenzie said no USA or allies missiles were stopped. The air campaign could frustrate those in Trump's base who oppose military intervention and are wary of open-ended conflicts. He called on Moscow to change course and join the West in seeking a more responsible regime in Damascus.

Later in the morning, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley emphasized that the United States is ready to keep pressure on Syria following military strikes that targeted the country's ability to use chemical weapons.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami also said on Saturday that the missile attack on Syria was another clear example of the USA criminal approach against the oppressed nations in the region.

It sounds utterly hollow when the Russians describe the Syrian President as being on the "front-line" against terrorism - glossing over the horrors of the hundreds of thousands killed and millions who've fled Syria or been displaced.

"The use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances is illegal and utterly reprehensible". In his nationwide address, Trump stressed that he has no interest in a longtime fight with Syria.

"We've been waiting for what's going to happen since Trump announced he would react to the chemical attack in Duma", he said.