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U.S. airstrikes targeted Syrian chemical weapons infastructure

16 April 2018

"For all the sound and fury of these strikes, their net effect is a slap on the wrist of Bashar al-Assad", said Nick Heras, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security.

US President Donald Trump lauded the "perfectly executed" strike, the biggest worldwide attack on President Bashar al-Assad's regime during Syria's seven-year war, but both Damascus and Syria's opposition rubbished its impact. "This is going to set the Syrian chemical weapons program back for years", McKenzie said in a press briefing. "The information we have points to the use of both chlorine and sarin, both of which are chemical weapons", one official said. The Russia military claimed that Syria's air defenses shot down some of the missiles launched by Western forces.

"After examining the videos and images of victims published online, they (intelligence services) were able to conclude with a high degree of confidence that the vast majority are recent and not fabricated", the report said. He wrote, "If we do nothing there will be other people and other governments around the world who will look at the impunity of Assad and ask themselves: they got away with it - why shouldn't I?"

In the days leading up to the US -led airstrike, both Syria and Russian Federation said that reports of the chemical attack were fabricated. It gave no other details on the intelligence.

Those three countries took military action following a suspected chemical weapons attack in eastern Syria.

The U.S., France and the United Kingdom targeted chemical weapons sites in Syria early Saturday.

The chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Gen Joseph Dunford, said Him Shinshar was "the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment".

OPCW stands for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

In August 2013, then-President Barack Obama said the U.S. had determined that Syria had launched a chemical weapons attack targeting its own people.

Trump launched a military strike against the Syrian regime almost one year ago targeting a government airbase also in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed civilians.

But the joint U.N. -OPCW mechanism ended in November 2017 after Russian Federation repeatedly blocked attempts at renewing it. Damascus and Moscow deny blame for any such attack. The last target was a chemical weapons storage facility and an important command post.