Allies keep Syria options open as Britain says no strikes planned

Allies keep Syria options open as Britain says no strikes planned

The United States, Britain and France said they launched airstrikes against Syrian chemical sites after obtaining evidence that a chemical weapon was used by President Bashar Assad's government.

The move signaled the West's resolve to return to diplomacy after a one-night military operation that hit sites Western officials said were linked to Syria's chemical weapons programme.

The official added that "while the available information is much greater on the chlorine use, we do have significant information that also points to sarin use" in the attack.

She will say United Nations inspectors found Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's government responsible for four previous chemical weapons attacks and that she is confident it was "highly likely" to have been behind last week's attack in Douma, which killed up to 75 people. "We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents".

The United States has warned Syria's government that it is "locked and loaded" to strike again if Damascus carries out chemical attacks. "They will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use", Haley said.

The president also called out Russian Federation and Iran, the two main backers of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.

Russia's demand for condemnation and an immediate halt to "aggression" and "any further use of force" by the three Western allies got support from only two other countries on the 15-member Security Council - China and Bolivia.

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The strikes suggest that Trump may have reset America's red line for military intervention in Syria over the use of chemical weapons.

Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are now in Damascus and are expected to visit Douma this weekend.

British Foreign Secretary (Minister) Boris Johnson defended Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to take part in the attack, saying it was to deter further use of chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Army announced on April 14 that eastern Ghouta, the region near Damascus where Douma is situated, had been cleared of the last rebel fighters and was fully retaken.

The Russian agencies quoted the lawmakers as saying Assad was in a "good mood", had praised the Soviet-era air defence systems Syria used to repel the Western attacks and had accepted an invitation to visit Russia at an unspecified time.

It is our goal "to see American troops come home, but we are not going to leave until we know we have accomplished those things", Haley said.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce blamed Russian Federation for repeatedly vetoing resolutions on the use of chemical weapons in Syria and said Britain took military action "to save lives", on the legal basis of "humanitarian intervention".

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