Explosions rock Syrian capital as Trump announces strikes

The three allies used ships, a submarine and warplanes to launch a barrage of 105 guided missiles towards three chemical weapons facilities in Syria, officials said, including a research centre on the outskirts of Damascus.

- During telephone conversations on Saturday afternoon Theresa May, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron agreed the military strikes in Syria "had been a success".

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was set to begin its investigation inside the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on Saturday, just hours after the strikes.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, new national security adviser John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence and US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley were all involved in the decision to strike Syria, Reuters reports.

The ministry said it was an "attempt to block the exposure of their lies and fabrications".

The U.S. strike was not created to "depose" Assad or draw the U.S. into the Syrian civil war, Dana White, the Pentagon spokeswoman said Saturday.

"They're playing dirty", the official added.

He also warned Russian Federation and Iran, describing them as "the two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing" the Assad regime in a country embroiled in a deadly Civil War since 2011. Mattis said no additional attacks were planned, though Trump earlier suggested the strikes could last longer.

The U.S. president was also said to be upset over perceived Russian inaction over Syria using the weapons.

- Strikes were launched by British, French and U.S. forces at 2am BST at three sites connected with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons programme.

It said the United States, Britain and France launched around 110 missiles on Syria, but air defences shot a lot of them down.

Assad's regime has been steadily expanding control over the country during the past couple years, relying heavily on Iranian-linked ground forces and Russian aircraft to regain territory from rebels.

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Israel, which has watched the winding down of the war on its northern doorstep with trepidation as Assad's allies consolidate their gains, has said it won't let Iran entrench militarily in Syria.

"An act of aggression against a sovereign state that is on the frontline in the fight against terrorism was committed without a mandate from the UN Security Council and in violation of the UN Charter and norms and principles of global law", Putin said in a Kremlin statement.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White reiterated that the United States is only in Syria to fight the Islamic State group and does not want to get drawn into Syria's civil war.

Fatah called for diplomacy as the only solution in Syria outside of external interference. He said the US knew of no civilians killed by allied missiles.

Syria reported that "Syrian air defense blocks American, British, French aggression on Syria". "No other group could have carried this attack", May said.

Qatar expressed its support for the US, British and French military operations against specific military targets used by the Syrian regime in launching attacks on innocent civilians. "This operation does not represent a change in USA policy", she said.

All three leaders said the use of chemical agents gave them a moral obligation to act.

The report, which provided a broad outline of the Syrian government-backed offensive supported by Russian Federation on the eastern Ghouta region over recent months, also said French services had assessed that not all Syrian government chemical stockpiles and capacities had been declared to the United Nations.

"The conscience of the worldwide community is in no doubt about that".

In the aftermath of the attack, the western powers set out their justification for military action that was carried out without a mandate from the United Nations and in the face of criticism from Assad's allies Russian Federation and Iran. The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs.

Still, following the strikes, Russia's ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov warned the United States, Britain and France would face consequences.

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