Netizen 24 CAN: Trump launches 'precision strikes' in Syria

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Trump launches 'precision strikes' in Syria

BreakingTrump launches 'precision strikes' in SyriaU.S. President Donald Trump has ordered the military to launch "precision strikes" on targets associated with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons capabilities.

U.S. does not seek 'indefinite presence in Syria,' president says

This image released early Sunday by the Syrian Civil Defence White Helmets, shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. The Syrian government has denied using chemical weapons and accused its opponents of fabricating videos. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

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  • Trump orders precision strikes targeting Assad's chemical weapons
  • AP reports loud explosions, lit up skies over Syrian capital
  • U.S. president says combined operation with France, U.K., underway

U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered the military to launch "precision strikes" on targets associated with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons capabilities.

The U.K. and France are also on board, he said.

The U.S. is prepared to sustain the response "until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents," Trump said Friday night at a news conference.

But he also said that the U.S. "does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria, under no circumstances."

He described the horrors of chemical attacks, and said "we never want to see that ghastly spectre return."

"So today, the nations of Britain, France and the United States of America have marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality," he said.

The strikes come in response to an alleged chemical attack on Douma, a community not far from Damascus, killed more than 40 people and injured many more â€" but Syria and its ally Russia have issued various denials.

Moscow said on Friday its experts had inspected the site and found no sign of chemical weapons. Several top Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, went so far as to call claims by the West and others a "fabrication."

  • Analysis'Get ready Russia': Trump's strategy of applying pressure carries risk of escalation, expert says
  • Russia accuses U.K. of staging chemical attack in Syria

At his news conference on Friday, Trump also had harsh words for Russia and Iran, who he hold responsible for financing and equipping the Assad regime, saying "What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children? The nations of the worl d can be judged by the friends they keep."

The Associated Press reported loud explosions lighting up skies over Syrian capital of Damascus, along with heavy smoke, as Trump announced airstrikes.

The strikes come after days of heated rhetoric. Earlier this week, Trump said on Twitter that there would be a "big price to pay" for Douma and, in the days since, tensions have risen amid heated debate about what happened and how, or if, to respond.

Speaking at the United Nations on Thursday, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the top priority had to be to avert a wider war â€" but he didn't rule out the possibility of a U.S.-Russia conflict

Nebenzia's remarks came after Russia's ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, offered his own threat, saying, "If there is a strike by the Americans then… the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired."

Attack kills dozens in Douma, but government denies involvement 1:11

U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said that, although Washington has no hard proof, he believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for Saturday's attack.

But French President Emmanuel Macron says his country has proof the regime attacked with chlorine gas. Macron, who along with the U.K. had been in consultation with the U.S. about the possibility of a strike, said France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted."

The World Health Organization (WHO) said this week that reports show that during Saturday's shelling, an estimated 500 people "presented to health facilities exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals."

  • 500 Syrians treated for symptoms of gas poisoning in Douma, WHO says
  • Russian envoy warns any U.S. missiles fired at Syria will be shot down

The patients p resented with "severe irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to central nervous systems of those exposed," the WHO said.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has dispatched a fact-finding team to Syria, and they were expected to start their probe on Saturday.

This isn't the first time Trump has retaliated against Syria over chemical weapons.

Around this time last year, Trump launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles at a government-controlled airbase in central Syria in response to a deadly chemical attack that killed dozens of people.

With files from The Associated Press

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