The case against Syria's Bashar Assad

In a statement Friday night, U.S. President Donald Trump outlined strikes being carried out against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad after a chemical weapon attack earlier in the week. He described the main aim as establishing "a strong deterrent" against chemical weapons use.

Merkel says the strikes were needed "to maintain the effectiveness of the global rejection of chemical weapons use and to warn the Syrian regime against further violations".

The specter of military strikes had hung over Syria since harrowing footage of victims in Douma sparked outrage from Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

"When it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday.

Pentagon officials said the missiles first struck a scientific research centre near Damascus that develops, produces and tests chemical and biological weapons.

Syrians wave Russian and Syrian flags during a protest against USA -led air strikes in Damascus, Syria on Saturday morning.

"We were very precise and proportionate, but at the same time, it was a heavy strike", he said.

Britain's defense ministry said initial indications were that the precision weapons and meticulous target planning had "resulted in a successful attack". Russian Federation is a key ally of the Assad government.

Turkey, who has opposed the Assad regime, called the joint airstrikes an "appropriate response to the chemical attack" in Douma.

So much for Trump's vow of a "sustained response", said Benham Ben Taleblu, a foreign-policy and security analyst with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. The U.S.is not supporting any of the rebel groups fighting the Assad regime.

Trump had called the weekend attack "sick" and "atrocious", and said Syria and its allies Russian Federation and Iran would "pay a price".

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Moscow denied its ally Assad had any role in the outrage, pushing a variety of alternative theories that peaked with a claim that Britain had staged the event.

"Nothing is certain in these kinds of matters", he said. The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep.

Russia's ambassador to Lebanon on Tuesday had told Lebanon's Al Manar TV that any US missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launch sites targeted, Reuters reported.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation representatives planned a special session to hear from U.S., British and French officials. Russia's US embassy released a statement warning that the airstrikes will "not be left without consequences".

He further noted that his country "recommends and encourages a political solution to solve the Syrian crisis", stressing that "military action would only deepen the conflict in this Middle Eastern nation". Syrian television reported that Syria's air defences, which are substantial, responded to the attack.

Trump said the U.S.is prepared to sustain pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

ABC News obtained a copy of the document, sent to at least one senator, on the evidence that led up to the strikes. Last year's strike involved 59 missiles.

Assad's regime has been steadily expanding control over the country during the past couple years, relying heavily on Iranian-linked ground forces and Russian aircraft to regain territory from rebels.

Both Russia and Iran are likely to continue their support of Assad. Their presence deters broader worldwide action by raising the prospect of a major escalation.

The chief US partner in the country, the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG, remains uncertain about American intentions.

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