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France's Macron: Syria strikes target 'regime chemical weapons capacity'

14 April 2018

As he spoke, explosions rocked the Syrian Capital, Damascus. "They are crimes of a monster". "We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", he said.

"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", Trump said in a live TV announcement from the White House Diplomatic Room.

U.S. president Donald Trump has ordered targeted air strikes on the embattled state of Syria, after it emerged this week that the Syrian government most likely attacked the city of Douma with chemical weapons.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that Canada stands with its allies and that it supports the decision " to take action to degrade the Assad regime's ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people".

Tomahawk missiles could be just the start of a wider coordinated series of strikes involving bomber and fighter missions.

"We can not tolerate the normalisation of the use of chemical weapons", he said in a statement.

Concurrent with Trump's speech, reports emerged from Syria of airstrikes targeting scientific research facilities in Damascus and Homs provinces.

May said the strikes would "also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity". The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said the targets included a Syrian research facility and a chemical weapons storage facility.

"The objective of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons", Trump said.

Anti-aircraft fire is seen over Damascus, Syria early April 14, 2018.

"To Iran and to Russian Federation, I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?" he said.

May said "a significant body of information including intelligence" pointed to Syrian government responsibility for a suspected chemical attack last Saturday.

But earlier on Friday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations accused Assad of using chemical weapons over 50 times during the civil war.

"It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties", she said. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said both manned and unmanned weapons were used.

Trump said he also has a message for the two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing the criminal Assad regime.

Trump made clear in his eight-minute television address that he is wary of a deeper entanglement in Syria, where about 2,000 US troops have been deployed to fight Islamic State.

Trump said a small American force over the past year has virtually eliminated Islamic State control over what once was a vast territory spanning parts of Syria and Iraq.

The air strikes, however, risk dragging the United States further into Syria's civil war, particularly if Russia, Iran and Ass opt to retaliate.