Trump declares 'mission accomplished' in Syria strike

WASHINGTON (AP) - A UN Security Council diplomat says the council will meet later Saturday at Russia's request, following the US-led airstrikes on Syria. The sky looked orange over eastern Damascus apparently as a result of fires caused by the missiles hitting Syria.

US officials told reporters that the strike involved Tomahawk cruise missiles.The British Defense Ministry said that four RAF tornado jets also took part in the strike.

Jordan, he said, stands with the Syrians' right to end their suffering and the crisis in their country, calling for honest efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis.

He called for a strategy that leads to a political solution to "save it from the brutality of the Syrian regime".

"This is a one-time shot, and I believe it has sent a very strong message", Defense Secretary James Mattis said.

Jaish al-Islam fighter Saleh Ibrahim, 26, said he was not optimistic that Saturday's air strikes would have any long-term impact on Syria's seven-year war.

Defense officials from the countries involved in the attack gave differing accounts of how much warning was given to the Russians, Syria's powerful ally.

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Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said supplies of chemical weapons, which Syria denies using, could have been moved from the sites prior to the bombing.

Ankara said the attacks, with weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, that indiscriminately target civilians, "constitute crimes against humanity" and they should not go unpunished.

The two other targets, to the west of Homs, Syria, included storage facilities for sarin gas, other chemical weapon precursors and equipment, as well as a key command post.

The allies successfully hit all three of their targets, the Pentagon said, deploying 105 missiles.

Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov also warned that "such actions will not be left without consequences". "Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'" Trump wrote, chastising Russian Federation for supporting Assad, whom he called a "gas killing animal".

Britain's defense ministry said in a statement that four British Tornado jets had fired Storm Shadow missiles at the base 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Homs at 0100 GMT (4:00 IDT).

The strike, which was conducted with French and British forces, employed 105 missiles and other weapons at three chemical weapons facilities.

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Western powers blamed President Bashar al-Assad, but Syria and its ally Russian Federation categorically denied the claims and accused the West of "fabricating" the incident to justify military action.

Addressing the American public after ordering the strikes, President Donald Trump said he was compelled to act after witnessing what he described as "the crimes of a monster" in Douma.

Strikes against Syria were carried out jointly by the US, Britain and France.

The participation of British and French forces enables Trump to assert a wider global commitment against the use of chemical weapons, but the multi-pronged attack carries the risk of Russian retaliation.

The specter of military strikes had hung over Syria since harrowing footage of victims in Douma sparked outrage from Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May. He said at least one chemical was used - chlorine, which also has legitimate industrial uses and had not previously triggered a USA military response.

Trump and Pentagon officials said the basis for the strike was the US interest in deterring Assad's use of chemical weapons - an interest the USA expressed last April when it smashed up a regime airfield with cruise missiles after an earlier attack using the nerve agent sarin.

"Further UK military intervention in Syria's appalling multi-sided war risks escalating an already devastating conflict", he said.

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Douma and the sprawling eastern Ghouta region near the capital, Damascus, had been under rebel control since 2012 and was a thorn in the side of President Bashar Assad's government, threatening his seat of power with missiles and potential advances for years. "It is not about regime change".

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