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What kind of nation wants to be associated with mass murderer: Trump to Russia, Iran

US President Donald Trump announced early on Saturday the military action from the White House late on Friday. As he spoke, explosions rocked Damascus. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said the UK and France had joined in the attack

Saturday April 14, 2018 12:54 PM, Agencies

Trump Syria address
[The evil and the despicable attack left mother and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air, Donald Trump said.]

Washington: Minutes before US, British and French forces pounded Syria with air strikes American President Donald Trump in a scathing attack on Syrian allis Russia and Iran questioned their support for Bashar al-Assad.

"To Iran and to Russia, I ask: what kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?" Trump asked in his address before ordering the airstrike on Syriam chemical weapons sites.

"A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now under way. We thank them both. Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians - this time in the town of Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus. This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime", he said.

"The evil and the despicable attack left mother and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead. The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons", Trump said.

Also Read | US, allies attack Syrian chemical weapons sites, Russia warns of consequences

"America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria under no circumstances. The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people", he said.

US President Donald Trump announced early on Saturday the military action from the White House late on Friday. As he spoke, explosions rocked Damascus. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said the UK and France had joined in the attack, Reuters reported.

The strikes were the biggest intervention by Western powers against Assad in the country’s seven-year-old civil war and pitted the United States and its allies against Russia, which itself intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad.

The US and its allies launched more than 100 strikes on Syria in a "one-time shot", officials at the Pentagon said. According to a Syrian government official, around 30 missiles were fired in the attack, and a third of them were shot down.

The US used Tomahawk cruise missiles in its strikes in Syria, which were fired at multiple targets in the country, a US official said. Joseph Dunford, Washington's top general, said the "precision strikes" hit three targets: A scientific research centre near Damascus that is allegedly connected to the production of the chemical weapons; a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs; a command post near the capital.

Also Read | 27 children among 30 killed as school bus plunges into Himachal gorge

A US official told Reuters the strikes were aimed at multiple targets and involved Tomahawk cruise missiles.

At least six loud explosions were heard in Damascus in the early hours of Saturday and smoke was seen rising over the Syrian capital, a Reuters witness said. A second witness said the Barzah district of Damascus had been hit in the strikes. Barzah is the location of a major Syrian scientific research center. At a Pentagon briefing, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said the targets included a Syrian research facility and a chemical weapons storage facility.

A second US official said targets were being carefully selected with the aim of damaging Assad’s ability to conduct further gas attacks, while avoiding the risk of spreading poisonous fallout in civilian areas.

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

The US president, who has tried to build good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had sharply critical words for both Russia and Iran, which have backed Assad’s government. A second US official said targets were being carefully selected with the aim of damaging Assad’s ability to conduct further gas attacks, while avoiding the risk of spreading poisonous fallout in civilian areas.

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

Also Read | 14 including Iranian fighters killed in Homs airbase attack; Syria, Russia blame Israel

The US president, who has tried to build good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had sharply critical words for both Russia and Iran, which have backed Assad’s government.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Britain's involvement in the intervention. French President Emmanuel Macron also confirmed France's involvement in the attack.

"We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none", Theresa May said adding that the attacks were not about "regime change" or "intervening in a civil war", but were to "deter the use of chemical weapons" by the Syrian government.

Russia vows to retaliate

Russia's ambassador to the US warned that there would be consequences for the attacks, adding that it was not acceptable to insult Russia's president.

"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented," Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said on Twitter. "Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible," he added.

"The US - the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons - has no moral right to blame other countries", he said.

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