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US, France and UK strike Syria's chemical weapons program

14 April 2018 09:59 508
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US, France and UK strike Syria's chemical weapons program

WASHINGTON. KAZINFORM - President Donald Trump announced on Friday he ordered strikes on the Syrian regime's chemical weapons facilities in coordination with France and the United Kingdom in response to a chemical weapons attack last weekend, CNN reports. 

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"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 from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.

Witnesses told CNN that they heard explosions in the capital city of Damascus and that they began while Trump was making his address.

US aircraft -- including B-1 bombers -- and ships were used in the attack, according to multiple US defense officials.

At least one US Navy warship based in the Red Sea participated in today's strikes, according to two US military officials.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the US specifically targeted the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program.

"We also selected targets that would minimize the risks to innocent civilians," Mattis said.

"Right now this is a one-time shot and I believe that it sent a very strong message to dissuade (Assad), to deter him from doing this again," he added.
The targets included a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area.

Mattis said, "This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production, and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology."

The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, which Mattis said "was the primary location of Syrian Sarin and precursor production equipment."

Mattis said the third target "was in the vicinity of the second target" and "contained both a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and an important command post."

Trump said that he decided to take action because last weekend's action by Bashar Al-Assad "was a significant attack against his own people," and "not the actions of a man, they are crimes of a monster instead."

Trump said the strikes were in coordination with France and the United Kingdom, adding that the purpose of the campaign is to "establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons."

"The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic," Trump said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement that she "authorized British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime's chemical weapons capability and deter their use."

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