Syria airstrikes: What we know so far

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

It follows days of growing tension over last weekend’s atrocity, which killed at least 40 people.

Russia had warned the western forces not to intervene in Syria’s bloody civil war.

MILITARY STRIKES LAUNCHED AGAINST SYRIAN REGIME – LIVE UPDATES

Here is what we know so far:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • General Dunford confirmed there was no co-ordination with the Russians and that they were not given prior notification of the strikes.
  • 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”.
  • President Bashar al-Assad has reportedly¬†said the military action came after the West realised it had “lost control and credibility in conflict”.
  • 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”.
  • A special NATO meeting will take place later today, where the US, UK and France will brief allies on actions taken in Syria.
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned the strikes as “legally questionable”.

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