U.S. 'locked and loaded' for potential future Syria strike

Lula Sharp
April 15, 2018

The fresh strikes by the US marked the second time that US President Donald Trump has authorized attacks on Syria. Just weeks ago, Trump said he wanted to end USA involvement in Syria and bring American troops home to focus on the homeland.

More than 100 missiles struck in response to a suspected deadly chemical attack on the town of Douma last week.

Since last year's strike, multiple chemical attacks have been reported in opposition areas, majority involving chlorine rather than the nerve agent sarin, as was used in 2017, suggesting the government may have adjusted its tactics. Here are a few key distinctions.

Although officials said the singular target was Assad's chemical weapons capability, his air force, including helicopters he allegedly has used to drop chemical weapons on civilians, were spared.

Mrs May said it was likely the Assad regime was continuing "with some chemical weapons production".

They said USA military ships, bombers and electronic warfare aircraft deployed in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean took part in the operation, as well as French and British military vessels and fighters. But with the latest strikes, USA forces may see an escalation in the conflict.

May on Saturday made her case for action in the face of opposition from much of the public and the Labour Party, saying in a further statement it was highly likely Assad's regime had used chemical weapons. "They were the result of the Syrian regime's barbaric inhumanity, and they were the result of the regime and Russia's failure to live up to their global commitment to remove all chemical weapons from Syria".

Syria has been locked in a civil war since the Arab Spring of 2011, pitting rebel groups who seek to depose the Assad regime against Russia-backed government forces.

"I spoke to President Trump this morning and he said if the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded", Haley said at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting called by Russian Federation.

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

The Syrian air defences not only missed the incoming missiles but they kept firing even after the last US, British and French strikes were complete.

Explosions lit up the skies over Damascus, the Syrian capital, as Trump spoke from the White House.

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At the United Nations, Russia's diplomats vetoed a U.S. motion to re-establish an global investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria that could have established blame.

Russia, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has reportedly started a new campaign to spread propaganda and other false narratives on social media after the U.S., France and the United Kingdom staged airstrikes in Syria this weekend in response to Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.

The main town in Eastern Ghouta, and the last to have escaped government control, is Douma, the site of the alleged chemical attack on April 7 that prompted the unprecedented Western reaction.

Despite the attacks, a Senior U.S. official involved with counter-terrorist initiations in Syria said that Russian and pro-regime Syrians were showing no signs of aggression towards American or coalition forces.

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, questioned French intelligence which concluded that a suspected chemical attack took place and said if any chemical stock were proven to be there, "Russia would be the first to want to stop such an attack".

"Our warnings have been left unheard", Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said in a tweet on Saturday morning.

· Syria and its allies, Russian Federation and Iran, have repeatedly called the alleged gas attack in Douma a "fabrication" used to justify military intervention.

"If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here".

Only a fraction of the victims are thought to have been killed by chemical weapons. "We've attacked the heart of the Syrians' chemical weapons program".

Saturday's airstrikes drew support from the European Union, Germany, Israel and other allies.

· Russian Federation reported that the Syrian air defense systems intercepted around 70 of the missiles that had been fired towards the targets in Syria but the United States chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford said he was aware of no initial losses.

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