US, UK, France launch air strikes on Syria in response to poison gas attack

THE United States, France and the United Kingdom have launched precision air strikes on Syria in response to last week’s poison gas attack that killed at least 60 men, women and children.

Speaking from the White House in a televised address to the nation, US President Donald Trump confirmed a combined operation with the armed forces of France and the UK was now underway.

Mr Trump said the three allies had “marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality”.


“A short time ago, I ordered the United States’ armed forces to launch precision strikes and targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Mr Trump said.

“One year ago, al-Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people.

“Last Saturday, the al-Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians.

“These are not actions of a man, these are crimes of a monster instead,” Mr Trump said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The purpose of our actions is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons.”

Video uploaded to social media purports to show the coalition airstrikes raining down on Syria.

Syrian state TV said its anti-missile defense systems had been activated and were confronting the allies’ attacks.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis said “decisive action” had been taken to strike Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure.

The Pentagon announced three targets had been hit, including a scientific research center in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility located west of Homs and a chemical weapons command post.

“Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year,” Mattis said.

“This time our allies and we have struck harder. Together we have sent a clear message to Assad and his murderous lieutenants.”

In a statement, British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was “no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons”.

“This persistent pattern of behaviour must be stopped – not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horror deaths and causalities caused by chemical weapons but also because we cannot allow the erosion of the international norm that prevents the use of these weapons,” she said.

“We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this.

“But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted. Even this week, the Russians vetoed a resolution in the UN Security Council which would have established an independent investigation into the Douma attack.

“This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change. It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region.

“It will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.”