Assad tells Russian lawmakers Western strikes were act of aggression

GETTYThe USS Porter launching a Tomahawk missile in 2003

GETTYThe USS Porter launching a Tomahawk missile in 2003

By firing 105 missiles at Syrian chemical weapons targets before dawn Saturday, the U.S., Britain and France sent a clear message to dictator Bashar Assad: they will not tolerate his regime's use of toxic gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his own citizens.

The new diplomatic push came after a stormy security council meeting called by Russian Federation, which branded the military action an "aggression" against Syria and sought condemnation. "The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air", he said.

The move signalled the west's resolve to return to diplomacy after pre-dawn attacks that Donald Trump praised as "perfectly executed" and "mission accomplished".

The Western countries said the strikes were aimed at preventing more Syrian chemical weapons attacks after a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on April 7 killed up to 75 people.

Russia, whose forces are bolstering Syria's government, had threatened military retaliation if any Russian personnel had been hit. "In the meantime, we urge all parties to show restraint and to avoid any further escalation in the situation", the spokesperson said.

Syria released video of the wreckage of a bombed-out research lab, but also of Assad arriving at work as usual, with the caption "Morning of resilience".

"The Geneva Process hasn't worked and it's time to find something new or change it", said one US official.

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"Canada has already done a lot, or tried to do what it can in terms of humanitarian intervention, and supporting civil society", she said. The Trump administration has never articulated its strategy or goal in Syria beyond fighting Islamic State militants and calling for political negotiations to replace Assad. But we know they represent a relatively small percentage.

A USA official said that while top aides such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had persuaded Trump to avoid the tougher action the president initially wanted, arguing that that would have risked escalation with Assad ally Russian Federation, the administration is no closer to crafting a comprehensive strategy on the war in Syria. Syria says three people were hurt near Homs. He accused the allies of violating the UN Charter and global law.

The Pentagon says Syria launched 40 surface-to-air missiles in response to the coalition attack.

She also said she's not impressed with the reaction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who expressed support for the strikes but seems reluctant to get directly involved. The first is a research center near the capital city of Damascus; 76 missiles were launched against the center.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Friday announced the press briefing would be held Saturday for the specific reason of dispelling false information about the strike coming from Russian Federation, which is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

He spoke to Mrs May and French President Emmanuel Macron by telephone, agreeing the operation had been a success. The Syrian leadership denied any involvement in the attack, and invited the experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate into the reports. Moscow condemned the Western states for refusing to wait for their findings. He threw the process into confusion Wednesday when he tweeted at Russian Federation to "Get ready" because missiles "will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'" After sustaining criticism for appearing to reveal his strategy, Trump tweeted the following day that he had not signaled the timing of an attack, adding: "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

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