Hours after U.S. forces led a “one-time shot” on chemical-war related targets in Syria, all sides appeared to avoid further escalation as allies focused on damage assessments and Russia and its Syrian supporters took their strong opposition to the United Nations rather than the battlefield.
President Trump, in a Saturday morning tweet, called the night-time attack a “perfectly executed strike.”
“Mission Accomplished!” he added.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said late Friday that the missile strikes targeted three areas of Syria: a scientific research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs and a storage facility and command post near Homs.
Dunford said there was some “activity” by Syrian surface-to-air missiles, but no reports of U.S. or allied casualties. “Right now this is a one-time shot,” he said but did not rule out further attacks.
While the Pentagon stressed the narrow, precise-nature of the attacks, Trump emphasized in announcing the strikes that the allied forces “are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”
The attacks by U.S., British and French forces were aimed at crippling Syria’s chemical weapons capability and came in response to an attack last week, purportedly by Syrian forces, on the rebel-held city of Douma, near Damascus, that killed more than 40 people.
Syria has denied using chemical weapons but Friday night, the White House released what it said was “a significant body of information” that pointed to the use of chlorine gas — and possibly also the deadly nerve agent sarin. That evidence includes victim statements, images of barrel bomb fragments, and reliable reports of Syrian government helicopters in the area.
While Russia and Syria sharply condemned the U.S., British and French attack, their initial response was verbal not military.