The United States, France and the United Kingdom conducted targeted strikes Saturday in Syria after the alleged chemical attack recently carried out in Duma.
The United States, France and the United Kingdom on Saturday conducted targeted strikes against Syria to punish Bashar al-Assad’s regime, accused by Donald Trump of carrying out “monstrous” chemical attacks. rescuers dozens of dead on April 7 in the rebel city of Douma , in Eastern Ghouta .
Just as the American president was speaking from the White House, detonations were heard in Damascus , marking a new chapter in the country devastated by a bloody war that has lasted seven years.
France has mobilized both multi-mission frigates in the Mediterranean and fighter planes to strike in Syria, said Saturday the French Minister of Armies Florence Parly during a speech at the Elysee.
“Multimission frigates, accompanied by a protection and support building, have been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time an air raid left early in the night from several air bases in France to reach the coast of Syria, “said Ms. Parly, adding:
“These different means have fired perfectly coordinated cruise missiles (…) in close synchronization with our American and British allies.”
Décollage, cette nuit, des forces armées françaises qui interviennent contre l’arsenal chimique clandestin du régime syrien. Déclaration du Président de la République @EmmanuelMacron : https://t.co/HNSK0FmZIO pic.twitter.com/DEAW7R50aC
— Élysée (@Elysee) 14 April 2018
According to an AFP correspondent on site, several successive explosions were heard followed by aircraft noises while columns of smoke rose from the northeast of the city.
“I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on chemical weapons,” said Trump.
“A combined operation is now underway with France and the United Kingdom, we thank them both,” he added.
Syrian anti-aircraft defense has come into action against “American, British and French aggression,” Syrian state television reported.
The Syrian regime ruled that this military operation constituted a “flagrant” violation of international law and was “doomed to failure”.
Russia, the unwavering support of the Damascus regime, reacted strongly by the voice of its ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov. “Our warnings have not been heard,” he said, saying the strikes were an “insult” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
No American losses
According to General Joe Dunford, US Chief of Staff, Western forces targeted Saturday at 1am, three targets related to Syrian chemical weapons program, one near Damascus and the other two in the region of Homs, in the center of Syria.
He said no other military operation targeting Syria is planned at this stage.
According to him, the allies took care to avoid touching the Russian forces, massively present in the country, but that Moscow had not been warned in advance of the chosen targets.
“It is clear that the Assad regime did not receive the message last year,” said US Defense Minister Jim Mattis, recalling the US strike of April 2017 at Al-Chaayrate military base, near Homs, after another attack on the chemical weapon attributed to Damascus.
“We were very precise and the response was proportionate, but at the same time it was a heavy hit,” he added, adding that US forces had used twice as much ammunition as last year.
No US losses were reported during the operation, according to the Pentagon.
According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH), scientific research centers, “several military bases” and premises of the Republican Guard in Damascus and its surroundings have been targeted.
From London, British Prime Minister Theresa May claimed that there was “no alternative to the use of force”, ensuring that “all diplomatic remedies” had been explored, to no avail.
The British Ministry of Defense has announced that it has struck a “military complex” near Homs, western Syria, with the aid of four Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 fighters. He spoke of a “successful” operation.
Moscow has “betrayed its promises”
From Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that the French strikes were “limited to the capabilities of the Syrian regime allowing the production and use of chemical weapons”.
“We can not tolerate the trivialization of the use of chemical weapons,” he said.
The military operation led by the United States, the United Kingdom and France is “legitimate”, “proportionate and targeted,” said Saturday the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian.
“The chemical escalation in Syria is not acceptable,” Le Drian added during a statement at the Elysee Palace with Defense Minister Florence Parly.
Donald Trump warned Iran and Russia, who have deployed thousands of men and equipment to help Bashar al-Assad reclaim the country against their ties to Syria.
Trump urged Moscow “to leave the sinister way” of support for Bashar al-Assad. He said Russia had “betrayed its promises” of 2013 on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons.
He also felt that the fate of the countries of the region was in the hands of their inhabitants and that no US military intervention alone could bring a “lasting peace”.
In April 2017, Donald Trump bombed a Syrian military base in response to a regime-imposed Sarin gas attack that killed more than 80 civilians in Khan Cheikhoun (north-west).
This time again, it is an alleged chemical attack – on Saturday, April 7, in Douma, near the Syrian capital – which is at the origin of the strikes launched on the night of Friday to Saturday after a mobilization of the international community, already seized by the horror of a civil war that has claimed more than 350,000 lives since March 2011.
“Proof” of the chemical attack
The bombing comes just hours after the State Department assured that it had “proof” of the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
The American president had quickly adopted a bellicose rhetoric after the attack, denouncing the next day a “senseless chemical attack”, warning that it should “pay the high price” and pointing to the “responsibility” of Russia and Iran supporting “the animal Assad”.
The danger is there, according to the experts. Russians and Iranians have many men on the ground to help Damascus take over the country from multiple rebel groups.
Russia, unwavering support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad, has used twelve vetoes in seven years of conflict over draft resolutions in the Security Council against Syria.
According to a report in mid-March of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH), which has an extensive network of informants across Syria, 106,390 civilians were killed including nearly 20,000 children.
In that country, which had some 23 million inhabitants before the conflict, about half of the population was forced to flee their homes because of the fighting.