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US, France, UK coordinate airstrikes on Syrian chemical weapon sites

The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 13. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels)

US President Donald Trump has authorized airstrikes in Syria after a week of meetings in discussion of possible airstrikes. These strikes were coordinated with the UK and France.

WHAT WE KNOW

  • Trump ordered strikes targeting Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program
  • The strikes were coordinated with the UK and France.
  • It’s in response to a chemical attack last weekend
  • B-1 bombers, ships were used in the attack, according to US defense officials

A statement posted by the UK government said that the action was “specifically aimed at degrading the regime’s ability to use chemical weapons” and is focused on regime facilities “linked to the production and use of chemical weapons.”

According to the Pentagon, strikes were carried out on a scientific research facility in the Damascus area, a chemical storage facility west of Homs, and a chemical weapons equipment facility/command post near the Homs facility in an one-time event.

These strikes were twice as large as the airstrikes launched by the US last year.

A Defense Department official told Grasswire that over 100 tomahawks have been used along with some other munitions, including guided missiles.

In response to a question of why the US didn’t wait for the UN to finish their investigation into the Douma chemical attack last week, Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said that the US was “very confident” in the evidence that they had.

Earlier Friday, President Trump called the strikes a “strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons.”
“Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States,” Trump said. “The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power – military, economic, and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”
Trump also posed an ultimatum to Iran and Russia, who have been supportive of the Assad regime:
“To Iran, and to Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?
The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants, and murderous dictators.”
A statement issued on behalf of French president Emmanuel Macron said that the “red line” declared by the country last May had been crossed.
“We cannot tolerate the normalization of the employment of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger to the Syrian people and to our collective security.”

Live updates will be posted in the liveblog below.

NOTE: This live-blog will be updated throughout the weekend, and possibly beyond if news warrants.

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