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Trump: "Mission accomplished" - USA, France and Great Britain bombed targets in Syria

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Damascus / Washington / Moscow - A "perfectly executed air strike" - US President Donald Trump was visibly satisfied on Saturday. The US, France and Great Britain retaliated against targets in Syria earlier on Saturday night in response to the alleged use of poison gas in Douma. Trump thanked Great Britain and France, the result could not have been better, he wrote on Twitter on Saturday: "Mission accomplished!"

In a brief televised address to the White House, he said earlier that he had ordered "precision strikes" against targets linked to the alleged chemical weapons of ruler Bashar al-Assad. The attacks ended again after a short time. There were supposedly no deaths, but several injured.

According to the US Department of Defense, the air strikes have severely restricted Syria's ability to manufacture chemical weapons.

Russia is not at all satisfied: the Russian government, allied with Assad, reacted angrily and threatened the West with "consequences". At Moscow's request, the UN Security Council therefore met for a special session on Saturday afternoon. A resolution condemning the Western attacks was rejected by a majority.

Explosions in Damascus

According to the Pentagon, three facilities of the alleged Syrian chemical weapons program were attacked. A chemical weapons research center in the capital Damascus and a warehouse and command post for this type of weapon near Homs have been hit, said US Chief of Staff Joseph Dunford. Ships and aircraft were involved in the operation.

According to Russian sources, more than a hundred cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles were fired "from the sea and from the air at Syrian military and civilian targets," the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on Saturday, citing a statement by the Defense Ministry in Moscow.

Claims by the Russian news agency TASS that most of the missiles had been intercepted by Syrian air defenses were denied by the Pentagon on Saturday afternoon.

"Relations with Russia at rock bottom"

British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson described the air strikes against Syria as very successful on Saturday. When asked whether a new Cold War was looming with Russia, he replied that it was right to say that relations had hit rock bottom.

According to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the domestic air force attacks in Syria were not aimed at allies of Syria. France's Defense Minister Florence Parly says her country is not looking to confrontation. The Russians had been warned of the intervention.

The attack on the Syrian regime was legitimate, stressed Le Drian. "This approach is proportioned and targeted." It is not directed against Syria's allies - these are Russia and Iran - nor against the civilian population.

"Air Raids Over"

According to the Pentagon, the air strikes were stopped after a short time. "The wave of air raids is over," said Dunford. US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said "currently" no further attacks are planned.

Meanwhile, Trump had said in his speech that the US and its allies wanted to "maintain this response" until the Syrian government stopped using chemical weapons. It was unclear whether the US president meant a continuation of the military operation conducted on Friday - which could contradict Mattis' later statements.

May speaks of deterrence

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was aimed at deterring the Assad government from continuing to use chemical weapons. The French head of state Emmanuel Macron emphasized: "We cannot accept the normalization of the use of chemical weapons."

With the operation, the three western states responded to the alleged use of poison gas in Duma in the Eastern Ghouta region. Dozens of people were killed and hundreds more injured on Saturday. The West blames the Assad troops for the attack. Shortly before the start of the military operation, the US State Department announced that Washington knew "with certainty" that the Assad troops had used poison gas in Eastern Ghouta.

"Mass murder"

Trump appealed to Russia and Iran to give up their military support for Assad. "What kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?" asked he.

According to the Syrian opposition, the attack by the US and its allies on Syria's government is also a message to Russia and Iran. The attacks showed that the western powers could be active outside the United Nations, said spokesman for the Istanbul-based opposition alliance Syrian National Coalition, Ahmed Ramadan, on Saturday. They are a response to Moscow's veto in the UN Security Council.

"Chance for a peaceful future"

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow said the Western attacks came at a time when Syria had just had a "chance for a peaceful future". Russia intervened on Assad's side in the Syrian civil war in 2015.

Thanks to a warning from Russia, the Syrian military bases attacked by the US were evacuated days ago, said a high-ranking confidante of Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday. The government is currently assessing the damage, said the representative of a regional alliance that supports Damascus.

Trump had already responded a year ago with a rocket attack on an air base of the Assad troops in response to an alleged use of poison gas.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) wants to continue its mission in Duma unhindered. A statement by the organization said: "The Chemical Weapons Prohibition Organization's Fact Finding Mission (FFM) team will continue to deploy to Syria to investigate the facts about the allegations of chemical weapons use in Duma .2018)