Wednesday 26 September 2018

What we know about Syria air strikes so far

British Ministry of Defence handout photo of a RAF Tornados sitting on the pan taking-off on a sortie at RAF Akrotiri to conduct strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East. Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA Wire
British Ministry of Defence handout photo of a RAF Tornados sitting on the pan taking-off on a sortie at RAF Akrotiri to conduct strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East. Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA Wire

Ellie Cullen, Press Association

THE US, UK and France have launched co-ordinated missile strikes on Syria following a "despicable" chemical weapons attack on the town of Douma.

Here is what we know so far:

- Strikes were launched at 2am Irish time at three sites connected with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons programme.

- The first was at a scientific research centre in greater Damascus involved in the development and production of chemical weapons, the second at a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs, and the third at a chemical equipment storage facility and important command post.

Anti-aircraft fire is seen over Damascus,Syria early April 14, 2018. Photo: Reuters
Anti-aircraft fire is seen over Damascus,Syria early April 14, 2018. Photo: Reuters

- The US said "important infrastructure" had been destroyed, resulting in the loss of years of research and development for the Syrian regime.

- Four Royal Air Force Tornados contributed to the strikes, launching Storm Shadow missiles.

- US Defence Secretary James Mattis said double the number of weapons had been used in the strikes compared with the 2017 Shayrat missile strike which involved 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles and was launched in response to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack.

- Mr Mattis and General Joseph Dunford said there were no reports of any allied losses. Syrian state-run TV later reported that three civilians had been wounded.

- General Dunford described the operation as a "one-time shot", and said no additional attacks were planned, but added that the powers that had signed the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had every reason to challenge Syrian President Bashar Assad if he chose to violate it. The allies remained in close consultation, he said.

- The only retaliatory action was some Syrian surface-to-air missile activity, the US said.

Damascus sky lights up with service to air missile fire as the US launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018. Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as US President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons. Photo: AP
Damascus sky lights up with service to air missile fire as the US launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018. Syria's capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as US President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons. Photo: AP

- General Dunford confirmed there was no co-ordination with the Russians and that they were not given prior notification of the strikes.

- British Prime Minister Theresa May said the decision to launch the strikes was not taken lightly, but she believed it to be in the UK's national interest.

- Every possible diplomatic channel had been explored prior to the strikes, Mrs May added.

- Syrian state TV called the attacks a "blatant violation of international law and shows contempt for international legitimacy".

- US President Donald Trump condemned Syria's two main allies, Russia and Iran, for supporting "murderous dictators".

- In response, the Russian embassy in the US said it had warned that such actions would "not be left without consequences", adding that insulting President Vladimir Putin was "unacceptable and inadmissible".

Press Association

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