US strikes

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump has ordered precision strikes targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities, as explosions were heard in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Mr Trump said a combined operation with France and Britain was under way and that they were prepared to sustain the response until Syria stopped its use of chemical weapons.

The operation by the three allies came after a poison gas attack in Syria that killed at least 60 people last week.

“A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Mr Trump said in a televised address from the White House.

A US official told Reuters the strikes were aimed at multiple targets and involved Tomahawk cruise missiles.

“These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,” Mr Trump said referring to Mr Assad and his suspected role in the chemical weapons attacks. The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,” Mr Trump said.

The US President had sharply critical words for both Russia and Iran, which have backed Mr Assad’s government.

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