Israel launches airstrikes on Syrian air base

Saul Bowman
April 10, 2018

Both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and CENTCOM, the U.S. forces in the Middle East, were compiling target lists and attack options to be presented to Trump and his national security team within hours, the officials said.

Syria, backed its Russian and Iranian allies, dismissed United States allegations of its responsibility as "fabrications".

Opposition activists said 40 people died in Saturday night's chemical attack in the town of Douma, the last remaining rebel bastion in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, blaming Assad's forces.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to take military action against Syria over a suspected chemical-weapons attack on civilians over the weekend, while Russian Federation warned any such action would have "grave repercussions". More than 30 of the victims were children.

The Syrian government denied staging Saturday's suspected poison gas assault on Douma.

'President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad.

The timing of the airstrikes in central Homs province, hours after President Donald Trump said there would be "a big price to pay" for the chemical weapons attack, raised questions about whether Israel was acting alone or as a proxy for the United States. It said the attack left people dead and wounded. "These reports, if confirmed, are horrifying and demand an immediate response by the global community".

On Sunday, he also criticized his predecessor Barack Obama for not striking after warning that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a "red line".

Worldwide bodies led by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were trying to establish exactly what happened in Douma, a rebel-held town in the eastern Ghouta district.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters: "While the United Nations is not in a position to verify these reports, the Secretary-General notes that any use of chemical weapons if confirmed, is abhorrent, and requires a thorough investigation".

The U.S. president later conferred with French President Emmanuel Macron, and they agreed on the need for a "firm response" to the attack, Macron's office said.

The Syrian government had denied that any chemical attack had taken place, describing the rumours as "fabrications" and an attempt to deter armed forces from advancing on the city.

Human Rights Watch has estimated the Syrian government has committed "at least five more chemical weapons attacks" since April 2017 when Trump ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles fired on a Syrian airbase.

Israel has also struck inside Syria in recent years.

Russia's military, which has supported Assad, denied the Syrian army is behind the chemical attack in Douma in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday and accused Western countries of trying to use the alleged attack for their own ends. But weapons inspectors are not expected to go to Syria after being attacked twice while tying to get to the sites of chemical weapons attacks since 2013.

"These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a effect of the past administration's weakness and irresolution...."

Asked about the Russian statement, an Israeli military spokesman said he had no immediate comment.

France accused Russian Federation of having a hand in the attack on Douma that drew global outrage. "He has challenged Assad in the past not to use chemical weapons". He also said the allegations were being made by groups like the White Helmets, which he accused of "being widely known for their fake news".

Taking note of the current situation, it looks as though the USA can not withdraw its troops from Syria any time soon. The timing of the comment caught even senior officials off-guard, a senior administration official and a USA official familiar with the matter told ABC News. He said that after conferring with his military advisers, he would soon decide on how to respond, and against whom. "Probably after the fact", Trump said.

It was not known when the proposed USA measure would come up for a vote at the council.

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