Print Edition - 2018-04-15 | News
United States, Britain, France strike on Syrian installations
- President Trump says ‘Mission Accomplished!’
Apr 15, 2018-
President Donald Trump triumphantly declared “Mission Accomplished!” on Saturday following a US-led missile assault on the Syrian regime and warned another attack could follow if Damascus were to unleash more chemical weapons.
The combined US-French-British operation, which saw more than 100 cruise missiles smash into three chemical weapons facilities early Saturday, earned quick scorn from Russia, which pushed for a vote at UN Security Council condemning the strikes.
Trump and his allies ordered the pre-dawn mission in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack a week ago on the rebel-held town of Douma that left more than 40 people dead.
Both the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and its ally Russia have denied all responsibility for the April 7 attack, and Moscow slammed the “aggressive actions” of the Western coalition, but it has not yet responded militarily.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned her UN counterparts that although the mission was designed as a one-off, that did not preclude further action against Assad.
“I spoke to the president this morning and he said: ‘If the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded,’” Haley said at emergency Security Council talks.
The sounds of massive explosions rang out across Damascus just before dawn Saturday, ushering in 45 minutes of explosions and the roar of warplanes.
“A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military,” Trump tweeted early Saturday.
“Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”
Trump drew some criticism for his choice of words: former president George W. Bush notoriously stood on an aircraft carrier just a few weeks after the initial Iraq invasion in 2003 in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner.
“We met our objectives. We hit the sites, the heart of the chem weapons program. So it was mission accomplished,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White later said. The targets included a scientific research facility near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, and a third location near Homs that contained both a command post and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility, the US military said.
Key world reactions to Syria raid
“Russia severely condemns the attack on Syria where Russian military are helping the lawful government in the fight with terrorism,” the Kremlin said in a statement. It said it was calling an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council.
China said it was “opposed to the use of force” in international relations. It called for a political solution and a “return to the framework of international law”.
Assad’s key regional ally, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, branded US President Donald Trump, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Theresa May “criminals”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a statement backed the strikes, saying they “will reduce the regime’s ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons”.
“I urge all member states to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a statement.
“We welcome this operation which has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of the attack in Douma,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.
Published: 15-04-2018 06:20