Explosions rock Syrian capital as Donald Trump announces strikes

Explosions rock Syrian capital as Donald Trump announces strikes

Explosions rock Syrian capital as Donald Trump announces strikes

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday ordered precision strikes targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons capabilities, as explosions were heard in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Trump said during a televised appearance at the White House that the operation was launched in coordination with France and the United Kingdom and targeted Syria's chemical weapons program.

President Trump claimed the USA will have a "sustained" response to curtail Syria.

British Prime Minister Theresa May won backing from her senior ministers on Thursday to take unspecified action with the United States and France to deter further use of chemical weapons by Syria.

There was no immediate word on any casualties or damage.

May's office said in a statement that the Cabinet judged it "highly likely" the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad was behind the chemical attack last weekend in the town of Douma.

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The president also said that "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria".

Syrian state media has denied any involvement from its government and earlier this week Russia's Defence Ministry claimed it had found no trace of chemical weapons use in Douma, calling the alleged attack "fake".

Mattis said the United States during the Obama administration tried to deal with the chemical weapons when he was enlisting the Russians, who were complicit in the Assad regime retaining those weapons.

Trump first warned in an early morning tweet Wednesday that "nice and new and "smart" missiles would be headed to Syria, telling its ally Russian Federation to "get ready".

It's believed that any US military response is unlikely to include significant numbers of ground forces.

Mr Trump, who has cancelled a planned trip overseas, has been canvassing support for strikes from the leaders of France and the UK.

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"One year ago, Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people", Trump said.

Although Trump reportedly advocated for a broad military strike that would punish Syria, and to an extent, its allies Russian Federation and Iran, he is believed to have been met with resistance from Mattis and other military officials, who feared the White House lacked a broad strategy, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

"I just want to say very clearly, that if they use chemical weapons, they are going to pay a very, very stiff price", Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.

Two other sites were near the city of Homs: the site of Syria's primary sarin production facility and a chemical weapons storage facility that included an important command post.

The U.S. has obtained blood and urine samples from a suspected chemical attack in Syria that have tested positive for both an unidentified nerve agent and chlorine gas exposure, according to a report published Thursday.

"No final decision has been made" on Syria, Sanders said.

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Russian officials alleged quickly after last Saturday's suspected attack that the images of victims in Douma were fake. "We look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home", he said.

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