(VIDEO) US, British and French forces launch air strikes in Syria in response to chemical weapons attack
US, British and French forces have pounded chemical weapons sites in Syria with air strikes in response to an alleged poison gas attack that killed dozens in the rebel-held town of Douma last week..
In a televised address to the nation, US President Donald Trump said the three nations had "marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality".
The strikes were the biggest intervention by Western powers against President Bashar al-Assad in the country's seven-year-old civil war, which has pitted the US and its allies against Russia.
The Pentagon said the strikes targeted a research centre in Damascus, along with a chemical weapons storage facility and command post west of Homs.
Russia's Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in a statement that Russia had warned that "such actions will not be left without consequences".
US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the strikes were a "one-time shot" to send a clear message to Mr Assad and his "murderous lieutenants".
"Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year," Mr Mattis said.
"We did everything we could in our intelligence assessment and our planning to minimise to the maximum degree … any chance of civilian casualties."
He said the US did not co-ordinate with Russia on the strike nor did it pre-notify the Russians.
"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved," Mr Mattis said.
Mr Trump said the strikes were in response to the "evil and the despicable" chemical attack on April 7 which "left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air".
"These are not the actions of a man, they are crimes of a monster," Mr Trump said, referring to Mr Assad.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres urged all nations to "show restraint in these dangerous circumstances".
French President Emmanuel Macron said a "red line has been crossed".
"We cannot tolerate the trivialisation of the use of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and for our collective security," Mr Macron said.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia supported the strikes, which demonstrated a "calibrated, proportionate and targeted response".
The Pentagon said the US and its allies fired more than 100 missiles from ships and aircraft.
It could not confirm how many missiles hit their targets.
A pro-Assad official said about 30 missiles were fired at Syria and that about a third were shot down.
Several explosions were heard in Damascus. Black plumes of smoke were seen rising from in the east, and the sky turned orange.
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