U.S., British and French forces pound Syria with air strikes early on Saturday in response to a poison gas attack that killed dozens of people last week, in the biggest intervention by Western powers against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Grace Lee reports.
WASHINGTON, D.C. / DAMASCUS, SYRIA (DC POOL / CBS NEWSPATH / REUTERS / DOWNING STREET/ COMPTE TWITTER ELYSEE / DOD / SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE / SYRIA TV) –
A bright light streaks across the sky in Damascus.
Moments later, the sound of thunder.
At least six of these explosions were heard across the Syrian capital early Saturday (April 14), as U.S., British and French forces launched a joint strike on the country.
At the same time in Washington President Donald Trump announced the military action.
“A short while ago, I ordered the us armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.”
The operation comes in response to a poison gas attack that killed dozens of people last week –
and marks the biggest intervention by Western powers against Assad’s government.
“These are not the actions of a man they are crimes of a monster instead.”
The targets included a Syrian research facility and a chemical weapons storage facility.
Officials say they were selected with the aim of damaging Assad’s ability to conduct further gas attacks.
At a pentagon briefing, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the strikes a “one time shot” to send a message to Assad, and that twice as many weapons were used compared to last year’s attack.
“Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year,” he said.
America’s allies were quick to speak up as well.
“This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change,” said Theresa May.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron posted this video on Twitter showing war planes taking off to Syria.
It’s not clear how extensive the strikes were, but political backlash was immediate.
Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. took to twitter with a warning saying “such actions will not be left without consequences.”
Syrian State TV described the attack as a a “flagrant violation” of international law.