Muslim Times (Web Desk) – Multiple places in Syria have come under attack by US, British and French military forces after President Donald Trump ordered a military strike against the war-torn country.
“A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of” Syria, Trump said in a televised address from the White House on Friday evening.
“The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,” Trump said.
He also warned Moscow and Tehran to end their support of the Syrian government, but said, “hopefully, someday we’ll get along with Russia, and maybe even Iran.”
US officials said that Tomahawk cruise missiles and other types of bombs were used in the attack.
British Prime Minister Theresa May also said she authorized the British armed forces to conduct coordinated and targeted strikes, noting, “I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest.”
Britain’s Defense Ministry said that four RAF tornado jets took part in the attacks, striking a Syrian military facility near the Syrian province of Homs.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit bases and chemical research centers around the capital Damascus.
Syrian state TV said the attack hit the country’s army depots in the area of Homs, adding that Syrian air defense systems shot down 13 missiles.
A Reuters witness said that at least six loud explosions were heard in Damascus with smoke rising over the Syrian capital where a second witness said the Barzah district, the location of a major Syrian scientific research center, was also hit in the strikes.
The US has been threatening Damascus with military action since April 7, when a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma in the Eastern Ghouta region reportedly killed 60 people and injured hundreds more.
The Syrian government has strongly denied using chemical munitions in the flashpoint town.
Russia said the chemical attack was staged by desperate militants to provoke further intervention in the conflict by the West.
A US-led military coalition has been conducting airstrikes against purported terrorists’ targets inside the Arab country since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a press briefing that the air strikes on targets in Syria were a “one time shot,” noting that future strikes will depend on whether the Syrian government uses chemical weapons.
The Pentagon chief added that the US and its allies struck Syria harder than they did last year.