Syria attack 'very soon or not so soon at all!'

Saul Bowman
April 16, 2018

The United States, France and Britain had said that they will not let the attack go unpunished, raising fears over a strike against the regime. Bush addressed sailors aboard a ship in May 2003 alongside a "Mission Accomplished" banner, just weeks before it became apparent that Iraqis had organized an insurgency that tied down USA forces for years. Shortly after the one-hour attack ended, vehicles with loudspeakers roamed the streets of Damascus blaring nationalist songs.

"Good souls will not be humiliated", Syria's presidential office tweeted, as translated by The Associated Press.

In Damascus, "hundreds of residents began gathering in the landmark Omayyad Square of the Syrian capital".

Fears of a military confrontation between Russian Federation and the West ran high on Thursday (April 12), but US President Donald Trump cast doubt over the timing of his threatened strike on Syria in response to a reported poison gas attack on a rebel enclave.

When President Barack Obama failed to authorize strikes against Syria in 2013 to enforce his "red line" on chemical weapons use, he also sent a message of permission, critics have said, even if that incident resulted in a disarmament deal. Both the Russian military and the Syrian government said they would facilitate the mission and ensure the inspectors' security.

At about sunrise, the sound of explosions could be heard just as the loudspeakers from the city's mosques called for morning prayers.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis, striking a cautious tone after Trump's threat of missile strikes, said on Wednesday the US was still assessing intelligence about the suspected toxic gas attack. The White House has stopped calling for Assad's ouster, while the USA military is racing to defeat remnants of the Islamic State before it is required to withdraw the 2,000 US troops there.

"If there are problems, they must be solved at the negotiating table", she said.

That's despite the World Health Organisation stating an estimated 500 people presented at medical facilities with the effects of chemical weapons in the area, according to local agencies.


But British Prime Minister Theresa May cited reports she said indicated the Syrian government used a barrel bomb - large containers packed with fuel, explosives and scraps of metal - to deliver the chemicals. "But on this occasion there is none", May said.

"We would still welcome cooperation with Russian Federation that will do the right thing and join the rest of the world in condemning the Assad regime for its horrific actions and ensuring they can not happen again", Huntsman said.

The Russian leader warned against "ill-considered and risky actions ... that would have consequences beyond conjecture". It said that "all responsibility" rests with Washington, London and Paris.

Trump said the strikes were meant to deter the use of chemical weapons like the attack on civilians in the Syrian town of Douma last week, and that the US was prepared to continue the attacks until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.

In the near term, the military strike appeared to ramp up a searing war of words between Washington and Moscow, which regarded the action as a attack on Russian Federation itself. He authorized a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles to hit a single Syrian airfield in April 2017 in retaliation for Assad's use of sarin gas against civilians. But the damage was limited, and a defiant Assad returned to episodic use of chlorine and perhaps other chemicals.

The U.S. joined more than 20 countries expelling more than 100 Russian diplomats and intelligence officers. "This will reduce the regime's ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons", he said.

In his nationwide address, Trump stressed that he has no interest in a longtime fight with Syria.

"There are definitely chinks in the armor of Assad's air defenses", Heras said.

"It will be in defense of a bedrock global norm that benefits all nations", Haley said. Turkey is a USA ally despite considering certain Kurdish groups in the region to be terrorists while the US has backed those groups as a fighting force against ISIS.

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