U.S., UK and France launch military strikes against Syria

U.S., UK and France launch military strikes against Syria

Photo/Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

Syria’s capital of Damascus has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky and caused heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes.

Trump says the U.S., France and Britain have launched military strikes in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians and to deter him from doing it again.

The alleged chemical attack took place last weekend in Douma, a community not far from Damascus. Activists say it killed more than 40 people and injured many more — but Syria and its ally Russia have issued various denials.

In a briefing at the Pentagon, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. and its allies had “hit Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure in a harder strike than 2017.”

Mattis added that there were  no reports of losses on the part of the US, UK and France, and that no additional strikes were planned.

“Right now this is a one-time shot.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement that the strikes should come as a surprise to no one.

“We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this,” May said.

“But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also confirmed that he had ordered military intervention.

Moscow said on Friday its experts had inspected the site and found no sign of chemical weapons.

Several top Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, went so far as to call claims by the West and others a “fabrication.”

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is attending the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, said “Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week’s attack in eastern Ghouta.”

“Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people.”

Trudeau said that Canada will continues to work with its international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and that those responsible must be brought to justice.

With files from Canadian Press and CBC

Ben O'HaraBen O'Hara

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