International desk – The United States and its allies United Kingdom and France have carried out bomb attacks in Syria targeting multiple government establishments where chemical weapons facilities were allegedly developed.
The strike, as the US-led alliance says, were in response to the last week’s suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma.
BBC reported that the explosions hit the capital, Damascus, as well as two locations near the city of Homs, the Pentagon said.
Russia’s ambassador to the US responded by saying the attack on its ally “will not be left without consequences”.
“The nations of Britain, France, and the United States of America have marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality,” President Donald Trump said in an address to the nation from the White House on Friday night.
“The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons,” he added.
The wave of strikes is the most significant attack against President Bashar al-Assad’s government by western powers in seven years of Syria’s civil war.
General Joseph Dunford at a Pentagon briefing shortly after Trump’s announcement said three targets had been struck. The targets, according to the General, are a scientific research facility in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs and a chemical weapons equipment storage and an important command post, also near Homs.
Syrian state television said government forces had shot down more than a dozen missiles, and claimed only the research facility in Damascus had been damaged.
Three civilians had been injured in Homs, it said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed her government’s involvement, saying there was “no practicable alternative to the use of force”.
She also said the strikes were not about “regime change”.
French President Emmanuel Macron also confirmed his country’s participation in the operation.
“Dozens of men, women and children were massacred with chemical weapons,” he said of the Douma incident a week ago – adding that “the red line had been crossed”.
Syria has denied carrying out the Douma attack and its ally, Russia, had warned that Western military strikes would risk starting a war.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has dispatched a fact-finding mission to the site of the alleged attack in Syria. Investigators were due to start their probe later on Saturday.
Sana, Syria’s official state news agency, called the Western action “a flagrant violation of international law”.
“The American, French and British aggression against Syria will fail,” it said.