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Russian officials say Assad upbeat after strikes

16 April 2018

A survivor of a Syrian gas attack in 2013 now living in the U.S.as a refugee thanked President Donald Trump on Saturday for "showing true leadership and bravery" in Friday's strike on Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons operations. Now that the extent and nature of the strikes are much clearer, my assessment is that they will not achieve their stated objective.

"We deployed 105 weapons against three targets that will significantly impact the Syrian regime's ability to develop, deploy and use chemical weapons in the future", said Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Director of the Joint Staff during a Pentagon Press Conference Saturday. The downing of the Syrian SU-22 came after it bombed US-allied forces fighting Islamic State militants west of Raqqa city. "Not through unilaterally just going in and bombing them just because we feel like it or because Trump wants to increase his popularity", he said.

"President Assad's use of chemical weapons and attacks on civilians are inexcusable, inhumane, and illegal". She blamed the Security Council and Russia's actions for failing in its duty to hold those who use chemical weapons to account. "If there were chemical weapons, we would need to wear masks and take other protective measures to be staying here", he said.

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It is the biggest intervention by Western powers against Assad in Syria's seven-year civil war, and has pitted the U.S. and its allies against Moscow.

The air strikes were in response to the suspected chemical attack that left dozens dead last weekend in Douma. "When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line", she added.

However, Russia circulated a draft resolution calling for condemnation of the military action.

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He criticized Washington and its allies for launching the strike without waiting for inspectors from the worldwide chemical-weapons watchdog group to visit the area. Urging the Security Council to assume its responsibilities, Guterres said a "lack of accountability" emboldens those who would use such chemical weapons by providing them with the "reassurance of impunity". "This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons used by that very bad regime".

The three allies used ships, a submarine and warplanes to launch a barrage of 105 guided missiles towards three chemical weapons facilities in Syria, officials said, including a research center on the outskirts of Damascus. "This is not about intervening in a civil war".

But it said skies were clear over Aleppo in the north, Hasakeh in the northeast, and Latakia and Tartus along the western coast, where key Syrian and Russian military installations are located.

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Russian officials say Assad upbeat after strikes