Pro-Assad official: Targeted bases were evacuated on Russian warning

Maxim Borodin

Maxim Borodin

"We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized - within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom, or anywhere else in our world", she said.

Syria's air defence system, which mostly consists of systems made in the Soviet Union, has intercepted 71 of the missiles fired on Saturday by the U.S., British and French forces, he added.

"In 2013, President [Vladimir] Putin and his government promised the world that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons", Trump said.

But US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis struck a cautious note, telling lawmakers that the need to "stop the murder of innocent people" had to be weighed up against the risk of things "escalating out of control".

"The goal of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons", Trump said.

The Ministry claims the air strikes were a response to the "success" of Al Assad's Syrian army in liberating their territory from worldwide terrorism. Britain says Russian Federation is behind the Salisbury poisoning, a charge Moscow denies.

A fact-finding mission from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is expected to head to Douma, the site of the suspected attack.

The US and its allies believe the Syrian regime was behind the attack, but Russian Federation has long insisted that it was staged by rebels in an attempt to provoke further Western intervention.

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Trump had also said last week that Putin bore responsibility for the "atrocity" in Douma.

"In the past year and a half Russian Federation has fully restored Syria's air defence system and continues to further upgrade it", Rudskoi said. Moscow alleged soon after the suspected April 7 attack that the images of the victims in Douma were fakes.

Merkel said all available evidence pointed to the Assad regime being responsible for the Douma attack and criticized Russian Federation for blocking an independent investigation through the UN Security Council. "We thank them both", Trump added.

However, Iran - another key ally of the Assad government - condemned the strikes.

During a week of tense sabre-rattling, Russian officials periodically warned the U.S. that a military response may spiral out of control to war.

President Donald Trump ordered targeted military action in the country, following an alleged chemical weapons attack that reportedly left dozens of citizens dead.

Nebenzia responded saying the environment is "not very conducive for any rapprochement" and "the political and risky military situation we are in now" must be sorted out first.

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