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Syria strikes punitive but not game-changing

15 Avril 2018

Trump earlier this month had reluctantly agreed to keep US troops in Syria for an undetermined period of time to defeat ISIS.

The U.S. had fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield in April 2017 in retaliation for Assad's use of sarin gas against civilians. It was "a little more than the symbolic strike from past year but steering clear of any major operation". Here are a few key distinctions.

Despite severely damaging the infrastructure with the strikes, McKenzie said the Pentagon would not rule out that the Assad government still had capability to use such weapons again. Russia's defense ministry said more than 100 cruise missiles were fired.

Disputing the Russian military's contention that Syrian air defense units downed 71 allied missiles, McKenzie said no US or allies missiles were stopped.

"For all the sound and fury of these strikes, their net effect is a slap on the wrist of Bashar al-Assad", said Nick Heras, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security. Defence secretary Gavin Wiliamson told BBC Radio 4: "Our service personnel have played an important role in terms of degrading the ability of the Syrian regime to use chemical weapons in the future, but also it sends a clear message to the Syrian regime that they can not continue to use chemical weapons with impunity".

Officials at the Pentagon notably would not set a bar for what would constitute further military action, nor did they directly respond to how the U.S. might respond if Russian Federation or Iran made good on their threats to engage in retaliatory strikes. Yet he made no mention of a possible Russian military response.

At a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Saturday, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley took aim at Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzia over the "fake news". In April 2017, the USA struck an airbase in Syria using cruise missiles.

The White House has given no timeline on any potential strategy to remove the roughly 2,000 US troops in Syria. "This persistent pattern of behavior must be stopped - not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons, but also because we can not allow the erosion of the worldwide norm that prevents the use of these weapons". And despite bluster about global law at the United Nations (an obscene observation, given the Kremlin's craven embrace of Assad, who should be prosecuted for war crimes), it appears that the two nuclear-armed superpowers will avoid any direct military confrontation.

The coordinated strike by the United States, France and the United Kingdom was carried out "to cripple Syria's ability to use chemical weapons in the future", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

"All of these symptoms are characteristic of a chemical weapons attack, particularly choking agents and organophosphorus agents or hydrocyanic acid".

She said the USA was "confident" that the strikes "crippled Syria's chemical weapons program", adding: "We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will".

Both the president and his military advisers took pains to say the attack on Assad's chemical weapons facilities was not a prelude to a wider war.

· Dunford said that the USA did not notify Russia of the strikes ahead of time, while French Defense Minister Florence Parly said that the Russians had been warned in advance. It said no warplanes or missiles were shot down by Syrian or Russian air defense systems, despite claims from officials in those countries that they had intercepted dozens of incoming missiles.

Freeland did not specify how she knew that the Syrian government was responsible, though she said Canada is working with non-governmental organizations and others to collect evidence of war crimes and other atrocities in Syria. "The U.S. - the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons - has no moral right to blame other countries".

"If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here".

Pentagon officials said they met their objectives and struck the heart of the chemical weapons program.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed support for the airstrikes while maintaining that Germany would not become involved in military action.

"We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will".

Russian Federation called the emergency meeting following the us -led airstrikes.

Syria strikes punitive but not game-changing