President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his use of the phrase Mission Accomplished to describe a US-led missile attack on Syria's chemical weapons program, even as his aides stressed continuing U.S. troop involvement and plans for new economic sanctions against Russian Federation for enabling the government of Bashar Assad.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump stated that he wants to get US troops out of Syria relatively soon, but that they would have to stay a little longer to helpfully defeat the Daesh terrorist group there.
Trump's declaration of "mission accomplished" had an awkward historic ring.
One site hit by the barrage of missiles was the Bazrah Research Center, a scientific research center on the outskirts of Damascus. The Pentagon said there had been chemical weapons agents at one of the targets, and that, although there were other parts to Syria's chemical weapons system, the strikes had significantly crippled its ability to produce such weapons.
"We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will", Haley said. No casualties have been reported.
A different Trump administration official, briefing reporters, said the United States assessed that sarin was also used in the April 7 attack but suggested that US information on sarin came from analysis of reports from news media and other public sources of information, as opposed to USA intelligence.
The warning came after the United States, along with allies France and Britain, launched air strikes on Syria on April 14 in response to a suspected Syrian chemical attack that killed dozens of people last week.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted a message of support and said those who use chemical weapons "must be held accountable".
"Assad won't collapse. They'll bomb for a day or two and then the regime will take it out on us", he said.
The White House said the leaders agreed the air strikes in Syria "were successful and necessary to deter" the future use of chemical weapons. In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned. A UN Security Council vote brought by Syria's ally, Russia, and condemning the US-led strikes was rejected.
Asked about US-Russia relations, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said ties were "very strained" but that the United States still hoped for a better relationship.
Addressing the council, Guterres said: "At this critical juncture, I call on all member states to act consistently with the charter of the United Nations and with worldwide law, including the norms against chemical weapons". "When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line", Haley said on Saturday.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Friday announced the press briefing would be held Saturday for the specific reason of dispelling false information about the strike coming from Russian Federation, which is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. China too opposed the strikes.
While the chemical weapons attack has put Syria fully on Trump's radar, experts say it's unlikely to persuade him to stay the course in Syria beyond defeating Islamic State.
- Theresa May told a press conference in London that joining the bombing campaign with the United States and France was the "right thing for us to do" in the wake of the "harrowing" assault on Douma a week ago.
UN chief calls for restraint UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all states on Saturday "to show restraint in these risky circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate matters and worsen the suffering of Syrian people".