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Chemical watchdog OPCW begins inspection in Syria following strikes

16 April 2018

The US envoy to the UN, Nikki Hayley, told the security council on Saturday its forces were ready, "locked and loaded", to mount further strikes, if there were signs Assad was planning to use chemical weapons again. "The fact he was making this more normal and that Russian Federation was covering this up, all that has got to stop".

"A perfectly executed strike last night", Trump said in a Twitter message. He added that he knew the media would "seize" on the phrase, but said it should be used often. "This lets them [Russia] know that this [is] not good behavior".

Disputing the Russian military's contention that Syrian air defense units downed 71 allied missiles, Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said no USA or allies missiles were stopped.

The narrowly targeted pre-dawn military operation on Saturday took aim at three alleged chemical weapons facilities.

His choice of words recalled a similar claim associated with President George W. Bush following the USA -led invasion of Iraq.

U.S. leader Trump hailed the pre-dawn strikes that lit up the sky around Damascus and exclaimed "Mission Accomplished" on Twitter.

Some in the Syrian community believe it was a small positive step in the right direction while others believe it will only cause more problems for the USA and American troops in Syria. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Haley listed three aims for the U.S.: ensuring that chemical weapons are not used in any way that poses a risk to USA interests, that Islamic State is defeated and that there is a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing.

The approach, Biddle said, reflects Trump's roots as a real estate developer who made risky bets and went bankrupt several times on the way to making billions of dollars.

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The nighttime assault was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Russian Federation in Syria, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow in advance.

Defense officials from the countries involved in the attack gave differing accounts of how much warning was given to the Russians, Syria's powerful ally.

British foreign minister Boris Johnson said the Syrian war would continue despite the "successful" strikes, saying the "overwhelming purpose" of the mission was to respond to repeated chemical attacks.

The Russian vetoes have been one of the main irritants in strained relations between Washington and Moscow, with Western diplomats accusing Russia of trying to protect the Assad government.

Russian Federation on Saturday asked the UN Security Council to condemn the "aggression" against Syria from military strikes carried out by the United States, Britain, and France, according to a draft resolution seen by AFP.

On Fox News, Haley also said the United States would not pull its troops out of Syria before three goals have been accomplished: defeating ISIL militants, ensuring chemical weapons will not be used and maintaining the ability to watch Iran.

USA defense officials say they have high confidence chlorine gas was used and are still assessing evidence indicating the presence of sarin gas.

Iran, which has also backed Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad since the conflict began in 2011, also warned of "regional consequences". The strikes "successfully hit every target" and the allies "took every measure and caution" to only hit the intended targets, White said Saturday morning.

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Many of President Trump's biggest supporters in the media world are slamming his decision to bomb Syria on Friday, describing the move as a betrayal of his campaign promises to avoid entangling the United States in more foreign conflicts as president.

Last month, the US -based charity Knights of Columbus announced that it had given $1 million to church leaders in Iraq and Syria.

"None of these military actions are large enough to deter chemical-weapons use when Assad thinks it's strongly in his advantage".

Trump announced the airstrikes Friday night to attack Syria's chemical weapons program. That did not mean military strikes would continue. Dozens of civilians were killed April 7 in a suspected poison gas attack on the final rebel stronghold outside Damascus.

"Mission accomplished" is the same phrase former President George W. Bush infamously used in 2003, after the US -led invasion of Iraq.

"The time has come for Western forces that support terrorism to admit that they have lost control", Assad said to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on the phone.

Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said the allied airstrikes "took out the heart" of Assad's chemical weapons arsenal.

"For all the sound and fury of these strikes, their net effect is a slap on the wrist of Bashar al-Assad", said Nick Heras, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security. Pentagon officials said the assault pummeled, but did not eliminate the Syrian program. "Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn´t already", Haley said in an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation".

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Chemical watchdog OPCW begins inspection in Syria following strikes