In the attack Friday night, Britain and France joined USA forces to hit three targets instead of last year's one and with 105 missiles, almost double the number last year. Could not have had a better result.
"Mission accomplished" is the same phrase former President George W. Bush infamously used in 2003, after the USA -led invasion of Iraq. "Mission Accomplished!" he declared.
Their real impact will be on the plummeting relationship between Moscow and the West. The Pentagon said it gave no explicit warning. U.S. Representative Peter Roskam, a Republican, praised Trump's action saying in a statement, "Assad must pay a price for ruthlessly slaughtering his own citizens with chemical weapons". Officials said this did not include giving Russian advance notice of where or when allied airstrikes would happen.
The Security Council held an emergency meeting earlier at the request of Russian Federation, which failed in a bid to condemn the air strikes.
Moscow circulated a draft resolution that condemns the "aggression" against Syria and demands that the allies refrain from any further strikes. "We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", he said. He said at least one chemical was used - chlorine, which also has legitimate industrial uses and had not previously triggered a USA military response.
As the airstrikes began, Assad tweeted: "Good souls will not be humiliated".
CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports one expert doubts they'll have any long-term effect.
The targets Friday night included a scientific research facility near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs, and a third location near Homs that contained both a command post and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility, the USA military said.
Neither Syria nor its Russian or Iranian allies retaliated, Pentagon officials said. But that is to trivialize Assad's offense and suggest that the USA commander in chief can't or shouldn't act because he's besieged.
The investigators, who are only mandated to determine if chemical weapons were used and not who used them, were expected to start their investigations into the Douma incident on Saturday, the Netherlands-based organization said.
The document outlines six reasons for the attacks launched early Saturday in Syria.
- "The objective of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons". More than 1,000 people are estimated to have died in the strike on Eastern Ghouta. In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned. "Public estimates are as high as 200", she said.
The U.S. strikes likely successfully degraded Syrian chemical weapons capabilities.
When pressed, he acknowledged that some unspecified portion of Assad's chemical arms infrastructure was not targeted.
The Russian military said the allies had fired a total of 103 cruise missiles, but that Syrian air defense systems managed to intercept 71 of them. "I suspect, however, they'll think long and hard about it".
Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie said that the missiles had struck at the "heart" of key facilities. "It does not exist anymore".
The allied strikes on Friday were cast by US officials, not as a punishment for Assad's government, but as a means to eradicate Syria's chemical stockpile and production capabilities.
"The pictures of dead children were not fake news", Haley said". "It was done on targets that we believed were selected to hurt the chemical weapons program".
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says military strikes in Syria are "directed at the Syrian regime" and they have "gone to great lengths to avoid civilians and foreign casualties". U.S., British and French attack aircraft, including two U.S. Air Force B-1B strategic bombers, launched stealthy, long-range missiles from outside Syrian airspace, officials said.
Damascus, which has repeatedly said it had eliminated its chemical weapons under the supervision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), denied any involvement in the incident in Duma. A medical student, he treated victims of the alleged chemical attack on Douma.
"We'll have to see whether that effectively communicates a deterrent message, or if the Syrian government reads the strikes' limited scope as evidence of a lack of will and seriousness".
"Today is not the day to shirk your responsibilities", he said.