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US, Britain and France launch air strikes against Syria

Apr 15, 2018 08:21 IST
US, Britain and France launch air strikes against Syria

The United States along with Britain and France launched a combined military operation against Syria on April 14, 2018. The military operation is in response to an alleged chemical attack in Douma, a Syrian town near Damascus.

The announcement was made by US President Donald Trump through a television address to the nation. Trump stated that he had ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

What they said!

Trump stated that the joint action was aimed at establishing a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons.

Shortly after Trump’s address, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described the attack as a one-time shot and said that the strikes had ended.

Speaking on the same, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that the attacks were not about regime change or intervening in a civil war, but were to deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

French President Emmanuel Macron also issued a statement saying that he had ordered the French army to intervene as a part of the international operation in coalition with the US and Britain.

While Israel, Turkey, Netherlands and Germany supported the strikes and called them necessary and appropriate to stop chemical attacks in Syria, Iran termed the attack as a crime and Russia warned of consequences and said that it would call an emergency session of UN Security Council over the issue.

UN’s response

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has urged all the member states to show restraint and avoid any acts that could escalate the situation and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people.

The UN Chief stated that while currently Syria indeed represents the most serious threat to international peace and security, there is an obligation, when dealing with matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law.

 

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Impact

Following the announcements, huge blasts were reported around Damascus early on April 14.

The sky of Damascus erupted with anti-aircraft fire and smoke as the US-led alliance launched an attack targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus.

According to General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the precision strikes targeted a chemical weapons research facility near Damascus, a storage site near Homs and a nearby command post.

Syria’s air defences reportedly responded by shooting down several missiles.

Background

• On April 7, 2018, a suspected chemical attack took place in the Syrian town of Douma, which killed over 60 people including men, women and children and injured several others.

• While it is still not proven that it was indeed a chemical attack, the on-site medics stated that the cause of most deaths was due to exposure to chlorine and sarin gas.

• Many of the injured showed signs of respiratory distress, central cyanosis (blue skin or lips), excessive oral foaming, corneal burns and emitted a chlorine-like odour.

• Syria and its allies including Russia have denied that such a chemical attack had taken place at all.

• The attack evoked large-scale criticism of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Read More Current Affairs

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