Donald Trump approved military strikes in Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack by President Assads government in Douma last week.
The UK and France joined the operation.
In a televised address from the White House, Trump said “A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad”
He also said that a combined military operation by the US, Britain and France was already underway in Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the US and its allies had struck civil and military facilities in Syria, violating the UN Charter and international law.
Washington launched “an aggression against a sovereign state which is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism,” the statement from the president said. Putin stressed that the multi-national strikes were not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, and were carried out “in violation of the UN Charter and principles of international law.”
The US-led intervention in Syria comes just hours before the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts were scheduled to visit the Damascus suburb of Douma on Saturday to determine whether chemical weapons had been used there last week.
Tonight, @POTUS Donald J. Trump addressed the nation to announce a combined operation- with the #UnitedKingdom and #France– of precision strikes against sites associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of the #Assad regime in #Syria. pic.twitter.com/m0H3Pk8Dh1
— Department of State (@StateDept) April 14, 2018
Shortly after Trump’s announcement, a statement from UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she had authorized British forces to conduct “coordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability.”
French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that he ordered French forces to carry out a military action against Syria in coalition with the US and the UK. “The facts and the responsibility of the Syrian regime are beyond doubt,” he said in a statement issued by his office, accusing Damascus of crossing “a red line” set by France in May of last year.
Macron said that France’s response was “limited” and solely aimed at “the capabilities of the Syrian regime for the production and use of chemical weapons.”
According to Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, the US did not notify Russian forces in Syria ahead of the strikes. “We did not do any coordination with the Russians on the strikes, nor did we pre-notify them.” The Pentagon said the strikes were a “one time shot” to send a strong message to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The combined decision by the US and its allies to strike Syria comes just after Russian defense ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov presented evidence claiming that last Saturday’s alleged chemical attack in Douma was orchestrated. The general also noted that London was “directly involved in the provocation.”’