Syria Strikes: US-led forces launched strikes a week after an alleged chemical attack. (AFP)
US-led forces carried out a wave of air strikes against Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime on Saturday in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks that President Donald Trump branded the "crimes of a monster." As US President Donald Trump embarked on a White House address to announce the action -- taken in defiance of Russia's threat to respond -- explosions were heard in the Syrian capital Damascus, signalling a new chapter in a brutal seven-year-old civil war. Syrian state media slammed Western strikes on Saturday as illegal and "doomed to fail," after the US, France, and Britain launched a joint operation against the Damascus government.
According to AFP, several consecutive blasts were heard at 4:00 am (0100 GMT), followed by the sound of airplanes overhead. Smoke could be seen rising from the northern and eastern edges of the capital.
Here are the highlights on US-led strikes in response to Syria's chemical attack:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Vows To "Crush Terrorism" (File photo)
"This aggression will only make Syria and its people more determined to keep fighting and crushing terrorism in every inch of the country," Assad in his first reaction to the strikes, told Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.
Western air strikes on Syria could let terrorism expand: Iraq
Donald Trump says Syria strikes 'could not have had a better result' : AFP
France says it has 'solid intelligence' Syrian regime behind chemical attack
A Syrian woman carries the portrait of President Bashar al-Assad, as she gathers at the Umayyad Square in Damascus
Russia calls emergency session of UNSC over strikes: Kremlin
Russia said it was calling an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council over Western strikes on Syria. "Russia is calling an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss the aggressive actions of the US and its allies," the Kremlin said in a statement.
What we know
- US, British and French "naval and air assets" took part in the strikes
- Strikes were aimed at "chemical weapons infrastructure" in Syria
- A scientific research facility in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs and a third location that contained both a command post and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility in the same area were among the targets
- The US reportedly used B-1 bombers in the strikes, but the American military declined to provide specifics.
- Syria fired surface-to-air missiles in response to the attacks
- Russia's foreign ministry said the strikes came as Syria -- which has been wracked by seven years of civil war -- had "a chance of a peaceful future
Over 100 missiles fired at Syria, 'significant number' intercepted: Russian defence ministry
Israel says US-led strikes have enforced Syria red line
US-led strikes in Syria have enforced a red line set for President Bashar al-Assad on the use of chemical weapons, an Israeli official said on Saturday.
"Last year, President Trump made clear that the use of chemical weapons crosses a red line. Tonight, under American leadership, the United States, France and the United Kingdom enforced that line," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran, that put its territory, its forces and its leadership at risk," the official said.
Russian Lawmaker: US Strikes On Syria Violate International Law
US, British and French air strikes on Syria are a violation of international law and are likely meant to prevent investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog from doing their work, a senior Russian lawmaker was quoted by Interfax as saying on Saturday."
Iran warns of 'regional consequences' of Syria strikes
Key Quotes From Donald Trump's Address On Syria
President Donald Trump late Friday announced the launch of a joint US-British-French operation targeting Syria's "criminal" regime in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack that he called a "significant escalation" in the crisis."
Syria and its allies Russia and Iran lambasted the air strikes as a breach of international law and said the attack had targeted army depots in the Homs area.
"The tripartite aggression is a flagrant violation of international law," state news agency SANA said.
Russia has warned of 'consequences' after US-led strikes on Syria.
The strikes were the biggest intervention by Western powers against Assad in the country's seven-year-old civil war and pitted the United States and its allies against Russia, which itself intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad.
No additional attacks planned in Syria, says Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis
No reports of US losses in Syria operation, says Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis
Four Tornado jets fired Storm Shadow missiles "at a military facility -- a former missile base -- some fifteen miles west of Homs, where the regime is assessed to keep chemical weapon precursors," Britain's defence ministry said in a statement.
Several huge explosions were heard in Syria's capital early Saturday, AFP's correspondent there said, as US President Donald Trump announced strikes on the country were under way.
British PM Theresa May said she had authorised British armed forces "to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability."
The military action is not about intervening in Syria's civil war or changing its government, she said.
The operation by the three allies came after a poison gas attack in Syria that killed at least 60 people last week.
Donald 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.
A second witness said the Barzah district of Damascus had been hit in the strikes. Barzah is the location of a major Syrian scientific research centre.
At least six loud explosions were heard in Damascus and smoke was seen rising over the Syrian capital, news agency Reuters said.
The United States is using Tomahawk cruise missiles in its strikes in Syria, and taking aim at multiple targets in the country, a U.S. official told Reuters on Friday, without disclosing whether U.S. aircraft were also involved in strikes.
President Donald Trump announced late Friday that a joint US-British-French operation had been launched on Syria, targeting the "criminal" regime of Bashar al-Assad and saying an alleged chemical attack had marked a "significant escalation."
"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," Trump said in a primetime televised address to the nation.
A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now under way. We thank them both. This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime."