In response to the deadly chemical attack on Douma, the US, Britain and France launched Friday coordinated airstrikes against Syrian regime targets. As he announced the military action, US President Donald Trump called out the regime’s strongest allies: “What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?”

Syria after an airstrike (archive)

Syria after an airstrike (archive) Photo Credit: EPA-EFE

US President Donald Trump announced Friday that he has ordered a series of airstrikes on Syria in response to the deadly chemical attack allegedly carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Douma last week. “I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad,” he said from the White House in an address aired across the US.

The American airstrikes were carried out in coordination with Britain and France. According to Trump, the combined operation demonstrates that “Britain, France and the United States of America have marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality.” US officials stated that over 100 missiles were used in the coordinated attacks.

The US president explained that the airstrikes were designed to discourage further production and use of chemical weapons. “Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States,” he stated. “The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power — military, economic and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”

He also criticized Moscow and Tehran, two of Assad’s main allies. “What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?” Trump asked. “The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants, and murderous dictators.”

From the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense James Mattis described the airstrikes as a “one time shot” and stressed that no plans for additional attacks have been outlined. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford also spoke at the same press conference. According to Dunford, US forces attacked four targets connected to Assad’s chemical weapons program: the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, a chemical weapons storage facility and a military command post.

The airstrikes began around 9:00 PM (Friday) in Syria. Syrian TV reported that the American attack’s main target was the storage facility west of Homs. “This is a blunt and serious violation of international law,” Syrian TV reports stated.

The Iranian Fars news agency said on Saturday that Tehran has condemned the attack and warned that it could lead to “dire repercussions in the region.” In addition, Russia’s ambassador to the US said that the coordinated military action “will not be left without consequences.”