U.S., British and French forces launched air strikes on Syria in response to a suspected poison gas attack that killed dozens of people, aiming to degrade its chemical weapons capabilities in the biggest intervention yet in the conflict by Western powers.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced the military action from the White House, saying the three allies had “marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality.”
As he spoke, explosions rocked Damascus.
British Prime Minister Theresa May described the strike as “limited and targeted” and said she had authorized the British action after intelligence indicated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government was responsible for an attack using chemical weapons in Douma last Saturday.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the strikes had been limited so far to Syria’s chemical weapons facilities.
With more than 100 missiles fired from ships and manned aircraft, the allies struck three of Syria’s main chemical weapons facilities, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford said.
The targets included a Syrian center in the greater Damascus area for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological weaponry as well as a chemical weapons storage facility near the city of Homs. A third target, also near Homs, contained both a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and a command post.
Mattis called the strikes a “one time shot,” but Trump raised the prospect of further strikes if Assad’s government again used chemical weapons.