Syria strikes: Latest updates

The United States, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma, blamed by the US and its allies on Bashar al Assad’s regime in Syria.

A missile above Damascus, Syria, April 14, 2018.
A missile above Damascus, Syria, April 14, 2018. (Reuters)

The United States, Britain and France launched strikes against the Syrian regime early on Saturday (local time in Syria) in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack on Saturday April 7 on Douma, eastern Ghouta.

Here is a timeline of events as they are unfolding

1320 GMT:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes Western strikes against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime as “appropriate” in retaliation for Damascus’ “inhumane” attacks.

“We consider this operation as appropriate,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party in Istanbul.

“The regime has seen that its mounting attacks in recent days against dissidents … will not be left unanswered.”

1315 GMT:

The Pentagon says the US-led airstrikes on Syria “successfully hit every target.”

Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Saturday that the strikes were launched to “cripple Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons in the future.”

The US, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria on Friday night to punish President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR’ AH’-sahd) for an apparent chemical attack against civilians last week and to deter him from doing it again.

White says the strikes do not “represent a change in US policy or an attempt to depose the Syrian regime.” But she says, “We cannot allow such grievous violations of international law.”

She also called on Russia to “honor its commitment” to ensure the Assad regime gives up chemical weapons.

1230 GMT: 

President Donald Trump on Saturday praised the pre-dawn strikes against Syria’s regime carried out jointly by the US, Britain and France, saying they “could not have had a better result.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!

Western officials said a barrage of cruise and air-to-land missiles hit what they said were sites linked to the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

So proud of our great Military which will soon be, after the spending of billions of fully approved dollars, the finest that our Country has ever had. There won’t be anything, or anyone, even close!

1200 GMT: 

Moscow is in touch with the United States and other countries that took part in missile strikes on Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday, RIA news agency is reporting.

Ryabkov also said in an interview with the Kommersant daily on Saturday that Moscow was interested in cooperation with Washington over Syria.

1110 GMT: 

A global chemical warfare watchdog group says its fact-finding mission to Syria will go ahead even after the US-led air strikes.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement that its team will stick to its plan to investigate the suspected poison gas attack in Douma, eastern Ghouta, on April 7.

The group said the mission “will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma.”

Russia and Syria have dismissed allegations that the Assad regime used gas against rebels and civilians in the attack last Saturday.

1105 GMT:

Iranian officials have made calls to Syrian leaders in the wake of the US-led airstrikes against Syrian targets.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani told Assad that the US goal was to justify its continued presence in the region, according to Syrian regime and Iranian state news agencies.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also spoken with his Syrian counterpart. Zarif said the US is using allegations of chemical weapons to justify attacking Syria before inspectors from the OPCW can begin their work in Douma

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