Syria news latest: Donald Trump, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron celebrate air strike 'success' but face questions from domestic critics

The joint US, British and French air strikes on a Syrian chemical weapons plant have been celebrated by the world leaders behind it – despite concerns from political opponents at home. 

The joint bombing campaign in Syria was hailed a “success” by Theresa May, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron in talks by telephone on Saturday afternoon.

Britain launched cruise missiles as part of the co-ordinated military operation with the United States and France in response to the chemical weapons attack in Douma one week ago.

Mr Trump declared it was “mission accomplished” and thanked the UK and France “for their wisdom and the power of their fine military”.

Russia’s UN ambassador condemns airstrikes on Syria

In separate calls, the Prime Minister spoke to the US and French presidents to discuss the offensive.

“The three leaders agreed that the military strikes taken against the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons sites had been a success,” a No 10 spokesman said.

Donald Trump: Mission accomplished with Syria air strikes

All NATO allies had “given the action their full support”, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said.

Speaking in Brussels, he told reporters: “Before the strikes took place last night, Nato allies exhausted all other possible ways to address this issue through the UN Security Council by diplomatic and political means.

Downing Street said Mrs May has spoken by telephone to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, King Abdullah of Jordan, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU President Donald Tusk, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Not everyone has been so positive, however. 

At home, Mrs May faced scrutiny from Opposition members such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Tottenham MP David Lammy

Mr Corbyn said the military action against Syria was “legally questionable” and makes real accountability for war crimes less likely.

He said: “Bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace. This legally questionable action risks escalating further, as US Defence Secretary James Mattis has admitted, an already devastating conflict and therefore makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely.”

Nikki Haley: US is locked and loaded against Syria

While Mr Lammy asked on Twitter: “If…the Government won’t take Syrian children stranded in Europe because this is apparently not ‘right’, how many have come directly from Syria? 

“Look forward to publication of ambitious [Government] target and strategy for taking Syrian refugees when Parliament returns on Monday.” 

In the US, Mr Trump was slammed by Democrat politicians for refusing to consult Congress before moving ahead with the strike.

Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, questioned Mr Trump’s increasing confidence as a military commander.

“Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes against Syria without Congress’s approval is illegal. We need to stop giving presidents a blank check to wage war,” he tweeted Friday night. “Today it’s Syria, but what’s going to stop him from bombing Iran or North Korea next?”

Internationally, Syrian ally and Russian leader Vladimir Putin blasted the attacks as being “in violation of the UN Charter”.

He said: “An act of aggression against a sovereign state that is on the frontline in the fight against terrorism was committed without a mandate from the UN Security Council and in violation of the UN Charter and norms and principles of international law.”

Iran‘s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei branded the strike a crime and said it would not achieve any gains.

He said in a speech: “Today’s dawn attack on Syria is a crime. I clearly declare that the president of the United States, the president of France and the British prime minister are criminals.

“They will not benefit (from the attack) as they went to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in the past years and committed such crimes and did not gain any benefits.”

Additional reporting by the Press Association

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