While You Were Away: US, UK, France, Bombed 3 Syrian Chemical Sites

For residents of Syrian capital attack comes as a disorienting predawn barrage of light and sound

Trump declares Syria airstrikes 'mission accomplished'

Haley says the fact that Assad was making the use of chemical weapons "more normal and that Russian Federation was covering this up, all that has got to stop". "Not at this point in a civil war and bring the wrath of the whole world on his back", George said.

The operation drew a swift and harsh response from Russian Federation, a key Syrian ally.

He did not say whether France is planning military action against Assad's government.

The following year, he wrote: "Remember the terrorists that Obama has been arming in Syria against Assad".

Earlier Saturday, Pence held off from expressing a final judgment about whether sarin gas was deployed in the chemical weapons attack.

In 2017, the USA launched missiles against Syria following reports of a sarin gas attack.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump wanted to do heavier damage to Assad's war machine but ultimately settled on degrading his chemical weapons capability in part because he was reminded that part of his domestic political base was opposed to the United States getting dragged deeper into the Syria quagmire.

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Defense Secretary James Mattis, new national security adviser John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence and USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley were all involved in the decision to strike Syria, Reuters reports. He said if the USA and its allies were serious about making a change, they could have interfered years ago. US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis called the strikes a "one-time shot", although Trump raised the prospect of further strikes if Assad's government again used chemical weapons.

"The time for talk ended last night", she said, saying that three members of the Security Council "acted to deter the future use of chemical weapons" by holding the Syrian regime responsible for the April 7 chemical attacks on civilians in Douma.

Despite claims by President Trump that the operation was an "enormous success", it is being interpreted in Syria as a win for Assad because the limited scope of the strikes suggested that Western powers do not intend to challenge his rule. "We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", Mr Trump said in a televised address as the attacks were being carried out.

Meanwhile, the UK's Ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, said the UK's involvement in the air strikes against Syria was a "humanitarian intervention", which was legally justified.

The "proportional, precision, coordinated strike" destroyed the "heart" of the Syrian chemical weapons program, said Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, who was at the same briefing.

"The Syrian Arab Republic condemns in the strongest terms the brutal American-British-French aggression against Syria, which constitutes a flagrant violation of worldwide law", the foreign ministry said.

One official cautioned, however, that United States intelligence assessments indicate Assad still has chemical weapons in Syria.

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