How are the latest Syria airstrikes different from last year's?

Susan Walsh  AP

The United States, France and Britain on Saturday struck targets in Syria with airstrikes in retaliation for an apparent chemical weapons attack outside Damascus by Bashar al-Assad's regime that had left more than 40 people dead last week.

The United States allies in the attacks are France and Britain.

"Could not have had a better result".

Trump drew some criticism for his choice of words: former president George W. Bush notoriously stood on an aircraft carrier just a few weeks after the initial Iraq invasion in 2003 in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

As of Saturday, neither Syria nor its Russian or Iranian allies retaliated, Pentagon officials said. "Last night's operations were very successful". Inherent in effective deterrence is instilling fear and uncertainty in the mind of the adversary - fear that they would suffer unacceptable consequences for taking an action, and uncertainty about the exact parameters of the next retaliatory attack.

"We won't forget that we lost our city and our homes", said Mohammed.

Mr Bush addressed sailors aboard a Navy ship in May 2003 alongside a "Mission Accomplished" banner, just weeks before it became apparent that Iraqis had organised an insurgency that tied down U.S. forces for years.

She said the USA was "confident" that the strikes "crippled Syria's chemical weapons program", adding: "We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will".

"We can not stand by and let Russian Federation trash every global norm that we stand for".

"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded".

Mrs May said it was likely the Assad regime was continuing "with some chemical weapons production".

"I join President Trump in praying for the safety of our war fighters - the finest among us - and our allies as they avenge and deter the use of outlawed chemical weapons in Syria". Assad and Russian Federation have denied roles in the attack. Syrians were also shown gathering in central squares in Aleppo waving Syrian flags and saying that they would never kneel to foreign enemies.

Russia's military said Syrian air defense units downed 71 out of 103 cruise missiles launched by the USA and its allies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also supported the US, French and British missile strikes, saying that military intervention was necessary and appropriate.

The allied attack set off a fierce global debate about whether it was justified.

The Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia, meanwhile, said Washington had embarked on an "illegal military venture".

- Syria has failed to fulfil an agreement to dismantle its chemical weapons store under the supervision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, indicating it still has undeclared stocks.

Speaking at Number 10, Mrs May said action was "legal" and defended the decision to go ahead without securing the backing of Parliament.

The White House and Pentagon are insisting the airstrikes the US carried out with its allies overnight differ from the strikes the USA conducted last April, after a different chemical weapons attack attributed to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's regime. The strikes, a joint operation between the US, United Kingdom and France, targeted three locations associated with the production and storage of chemical weapons: a scientific research center; a storage center for sarin and its precursor components; and a chemical weapons storage facility and command post, according to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. Syrian time, about 9 p.m. "Chemical weapons have been prohibited for decades and we must enforce this prohibition". Fox News reported that us military strikes would "go forward in Syria" and said the decision was made by Trump on the evening of April 13. "This is going to set the Syrian chemical weapon program back for years". The coalition has confirmed that three sites were specifically targeted. "This year, the US and our allies have struck harder", Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Friday evening at the Pentagon.

And Pape says it puts the 2,000 USA troops in Syria at risk.

He said the missiles hit the "sweet spot", doing the expected level of damage while minimising the unintentional release of toxic fumes that could be harmful to nearby civilians. France said it was preparing a draft resolution to address chemical weapons use, the humanitarian crisis and the peace process in Syria at the Security Council.

"America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria under no circumstances", Mr. Trump said Friday night.

Trump said he was prepared to sustain the response until Assad's government stopped its use of chemical weapons.

Chlorine use has been a recurring footnote in the course of Syria's civil war, but rarely has it generated the same outrage as reports of sarin use. "It is not about regime change".

"The chemical fabrications, which did not serve the terrorists and their sponsors in Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, will not serve them today either, as the Syrian state is determined to end terrorism in every square inch of Syrian territory", read a statement by the Syrian government.

The Syrian government has repeatedly denied any use of banned weapons. USA officials called the drone a direct threat to the coalition, and it came hours after an attack by progovernment forces in the same area.

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