Pentagon: Strike dealt 'severe blow' to Syria's chemical weapons

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"Mission accomplished" is the same phrase former President George W. Bush infamously used in 2003, after the US -led invasion of Iraq.

Before and after satellite pictures have revealed the damage of Saturday's US, French and British strikes that were meant to punish Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack. Bush was addressing sailors aboard a ship alongside a "Mission Accomplished" banner. No word yet on whether Trump will take him up on his offer, but they may be talking over another form of refreshment since the president does not drink alcohol.

Inspectors from the independent Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are now in Damascus. Pentagon officials said the assault pummeled, but did not eliminate the Syrian program.

Why is "mission accomplished" controversial?

"He used chemical weapons before, it looks like he used it in Douma, and he will use this weapon again", said Nael Shama, a Cairo-based political researcher.

What is happening in Douma?

"You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down", she said.

At least 40 people are believed to have died on 7 April in Douma, which until Saturday was the last rebel-held town near the capital and the target of a government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands.

Macron added that the Russians are "accomplices" of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime because they blocked the U.N. Security Council.

The OPCW will not seek to establish - and publicly announce - who was responsible for the attack.

The airstrikes are but the latest in a long line of U.S. interventions in the Syrian civil war.

Will there be more Western attacks?

The Trump administration also pushed back on comments made Sunday by French President Emmanuel Macron, who in an interview on French TV noted that President Donald Trump days earlier expressed his eagerness to withdraw USA troops from Syria, and "we convinced him to remain".

The inspectors will face a hard task, with all key players having pre-empted their findings, including Western powers, which justified the strikes by claiming they already had proof such weapons were used.

President Bashar al-Assad's government said on Monday it was ready to cooperate and facilitate the work of the OPCW team, but did not say when they would go to the site. "No local resident confirmed the chemical attack". According to WSJ, he realized that "the most robust option might drag the United States more deeply into the conflict" and felt "that was too much for his first week on the job".

Dunford said the USA did not coordinate targets with or notify the Russian government of the strikes, beyond normal airspace "de-confliction" communications.

The UK government blamed Russia for the poisoning, and the episode prompted the expulsions of Russian diplomats from more than 20 countries.

The West has accused Syria of failing to live up to its commitment to scrap its chemical weapons programme under a deal reached between the United States and Russian Federation.

Vice President Mike Pence also said Trump carried out the strikes armed with USA intelligence that at "a minimum it was the chemical weapon of chlorine", noting investigators still might prove sarin was used.

Similar previous plans have been vetoed by Russian Federation.

What was targeted by the US, UK and France?

"They began to fire their missiles after the last impact of our weapons", McKenzie said.

More than 100 missiles were launched at 2am Irish time on Saturday morning at a scientific research centre in greater Damascus, a weapons storage facility near Homs, and a chemical equipment storage facility and important command post. "Please be assured", Macron said in his interview, "we've convinced him that we had to stay on in the long term". It said Syria's chemical weapons programme had been set back years. And we were able to repel it with Soviet missiles from the 1970s.

The projects will focus on the Idlib region where some 1.2 million displaced people live according to United Nations estimates, as well as the Ghouta region near Damascus and north west in areas recently liberated from the Islamic State (IS) group.