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Syria warns West it will defend itself if attacked

14 April 2018

Explosions lit up the skies with anti-aircraft fire over Damascus, the Syrian capital, as the USA launched an attack on Syria early Saturday.

The prospect of a confrontation between Russian Federation, the Syrian government's ally, and the West have been running high since Trump said on Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" in response to the attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7.

Syrian news outlet Al-Masdar News reported cruise missiles struck rural Damascus and caused explosions at Dumayr Airbase.

Mr Trump said he was prepared to "sustain" the assault against Syria.

The defense secretary says Friday's strikes have "sent a clear message" to Assad and his "murderous lieutenants".

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last week "We call upon. members of the global community to seriously consider the possible consequences of such accusations, threats and especially action [against Syria]". Iran's Foreign Ministry condemned the strikes.

Russian Federation has hit back at the United States following a massive air strike on targets in Syria, warning there will be consequences. Perhaps in preparation for a strike, Syria repositioned some of its aircraft from bases earlier in the week, a US official told ABC News.

The U.S., British and French bombs fired from ships and manned warplanes targeted a military research facility near Damascus used to produce and test chemical weapons, a storage facility near Homs, where illegal sarin gas was produced, and a nearby weapons storage facility and command post, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon.

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"Important infrastructure was destroyed", Mattis said. "They will lose years of research and development, storage and equipment", Dunford said. It comes after a poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people on April 7.

President Donald Trump announced Friday evening that he has ordered the launch of airstrikes, along with the United Kingdom and France, on Syria in order to target the "criminal" regime of President Bashar Assad for his purported use of chemical weapons recently.

"The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic", Trump said. Syrian air defences responded to the joint strikes by the United States, France and Britain.

The PM said she believed the action to be in Britain's national interest, adding: "This is the first time as Prime Minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat - and it is not a decision I have taken lightly".

May has said that Russia's veto at the Security Council of a vote to create a new inquiry on chemical attacks meant the United Nations could have no role in investigations.

Friday's attack included "a little over double the number" of weapons than the assault a year ago, Mattis said.

He added the the US and it's allies are prepared for "sustained" response until Syrian government stops use of chemical weapons.

Tonight, I want to speak with you about why we have taken this action. They are in eastern Syria, far from Damascus.

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But that the USA did not want an "indefinite presence" in Syria and would only stay until Islamic State was destroyed. He has previously told his national security team he wants U.S. troops to exit Syria within six months.

Before a U.N. Security Council meeting Friday, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley signaled that some kind of action was in the works.

In an early response, the Russian foreign ministry called the Western attacks a violation of worldwide laws.

"One must be really exceptional to strike Syria's capital when the country finally got a chance for a peaceful future", she wrote.

"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America".

The US and its allies "are responsible for the regional consequences of this adventurist action", the statement added. "All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris", Antonov said.

In fact, Trump took direct aim at the roles of Russian Federation and Iran in aiding the regime, calling the chemical attack and the retaliatory strikes the "direct result of Russia's failure" to ensure Assad did not use chemical weapons.

Part of the calculation this week has also been gaming out how Russian Federation will respond.

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Syria warns West it will defend itself if attacked