The United States, the United Kingdom and France sought to shore up international support Saturday after overnight strikes on Syria in retaliation for an apparent chemical weapons attack by Bashar Assad’s regime.
The allies successfully hit all three of their targets, the Pentagon said, deploying 105 missiles. The targets included chlorine and sarin gas research facilities and the allies’ met with no significant resistance from Syrian air defenses, the Pentagon said, contradicting Russian claims that the majority of the missiles had been intercepted.
“A perfectly executed strike last night,” President Donald Trump said Saturday in a tweet. “Mission Accomplished!”
In the aftermath of the attack, the western powers set out their justification for military action that was carried out without a mandate from the United Nations and in the face of criticism from Assad’s allies Russia and Iran. British Prime Minister Theresa May said the NATO powers had no alternative but to act after reports that a Syrian government helicopter dropped a barrel bomb with chemical agents on a civilian population near Damascus a week ago
“We would have preferred an alternative path, but in this case there was none,” May told reporters in London Saturday morning. “We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said the action was narrowly focused on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities while May insisted there was no intention to interfere in the broader civil war that has engulfed the country since 2011.
All three leaders said the use of chemical agents gave them a moral obligation to act.
(c) 2018, Bloomberg News · Donna Abu-Nasr, Robert Hutton, Henry Meyer