Trump claims success in Syria, but chemical weapons remain

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Trump announced from the White House on Friday night that the USA, in coordination with France and the United Kingdom, had launched strikes on Syria following a week of threats of retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians by the Assad regime.

"A perfectly executed strike last night", Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

It was almost exactly one year ago that the USA carried out airstrikes on Syria, marking one of Mr. Trump's most decisive actions in office at the time.

Ahmad, a 25-year-old mechanic who had been displaced from Douma, told AFP the Western strikes were nevertheless too little, too late.

The defense secretary says Friday's strikes have "sent a clear message" to Assad and his "murderous lieutenants".

· From the French side, the strikes involved 12 cruise missiles, fighter jets and warships.

"Horrific as Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons has been, these types of weapons are not what gives Assad his decisive advantages on the battlefield", he said.

Moscow has denounced the attack on its ally by the U.S., Britain and France. McKenzie said the us military deployed 76 missiles and destroyed that facility. Analysts and diplomats said the strike was unlikely to shake Assad's hold on power or change the trajectory of the conflict. The Pentagon explained that the research center is believed to be responsible for the research, development, production and testing of chemical weapons, while they believe the two storage facilities are the location of Syria's sarin production and a chemical weapons facility that also entails a key command post for the Assad regime.

But the Pentagon said that worry had eased after the United States learned that the Syria strikes had not resulted in any Russian casualties.

The entry of government forces to Douma follows a Russian-mediated deal that secured the surrender and evacuation of the rebels and thousands of civilians from the town.

Trump's use of "mission accomplished" less than 24 hours after launching the missiles echoed President George W Bush's infamous 2003 speech a month after USA troops were deployed in Iraq.

They said: "We have absorbed the strike".

Trump announced the strikes, in coordination with France and Britain, from the White House Friday night.

Syria, with allies Russian Federation and Iran, denied the use of chemical weapons and bizarrely the Kremlin even branded the attack as lies, a baffling claim dismissed by Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie. Where is our "Thank you America?"

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned at a U.N. Security Countil meeting that the "locked and loaded" and prepared to strike Syria again if the Assad regime targets civilians with chemical weapons.

"All of these symptoms are characteristic of a chemical weapons attack, particularly choking agents and organophosphorus agents or hydrocyanic acid".

"We deployed 105 weapons against three targets that will significantly impact the Syrian regime's ability to develop, deploy and use chemical weapons in the future", said Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Director of the Joint Staff during a Pentagon Press Conference Saturday.

Hours before Trump's announcement on Friday, 88 Republican and Democratic members of Congress signed a letter imploring the president to consult Congress prior to engaging U.S. armed forces.

Last year, the airbase was a single target - the Shayrat airbase - that base that was believed to be where the Syrian regime's chemical weapons attack originated.

McKenzie defended the attacks in response to questions about the proof that Assad had used chemical weapons on civilians. The NATO alliance gave its full backing; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels that the attack was about ensuring that chemical weapons can not be used with impunity. Syrian air defenses hit several incoming missiles, state-run media said.

Russian Federation said it was being "threatened" and said the air strikes "will not be left without consequences" in a statement from its ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, posted on Twitter.

Saturday's airstrikes drew support from the European Union, Germany, Israel and other allies.

· Syria and its allies, Russian Federation and Iran, have repeatedly called the alleged gas attack in Douma a "fabrication" used to justify military intervention. Inspectors from the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog group were in Damascus and had been expected to head to Douma on Saturday.

"We can not stand by as Russian Federation trashes every global norm that we stand for", Ms Haley said.