After preparing for five days, the United States, together with its French and British allies, fired a salvo of 105 cruise missiles at eight separate targets belonging to President Bashar Assad’s regime. The targets included research and development facilities of what, intelligence officials told TV7, are “key components linked to the regime’s chemical weapons capabilities.” Pentagon officials noted following the attack, which took place on Friday night, that the chemical weapons capabilities of Damascus had been seriously damaged and set back for years, although Assad retained “residual” capability. Meanwhile, in a televised statement, U.S. President Donald Trump emphasized preparedness to sustain the response until Syria stopped its use of chemical weapons. “The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power, military, economic and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” US President Donald Trump said.
President Trump further asserted that the failure of Russia to fulfill its promise, to guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, resulted in the “forced” military action by the West. “In 2013, President Putin and his government promised the world that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise. Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path, or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace. Hopefully, some day we’ll get along with Russia and maybe even Iran. But maybe not,” President Trump said.
Washington, London and Paris, all released statements, in which they claimed to have proof of the Assad regime’s responsibility for the alleged chemical weapons attack on April 7th that triggered the Western military response in Syria; proof Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned as ‘a ludicrous attempt to justify the strikes which were carried out.’ “I will speak about how now our Western partners explain their absolutely lawless and unacceptable actions. As you perhaps heard, The U.S. president, British prime minister and the president of France have been saying in the last few days that they have incontrovertible facts that a chemical weapon, firstly, was used in Douma, in eastern Ghouta, and secondly, the incontrovertible fact that it was done by Bashar Assad giving an order.” / “We are told about it now, to justify the strikes which were carried out. Nothing else is demonstrated except mentioning mass media, social media and that video which is rather ridiculous for specialists,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
In a diplomatic bid against the U.S.-led attack in Syria, Moscow called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, urging its 15-members to condemn Washington, London and Paris, for what Russia called “blatant aggression.” While the Russian draft resolution of a condemnation has failed, after only China and Bolivia voted in its favor, the council’s session provided a platform for the United States, France and Britain to defend their military action as legal. “It is hard to believe that it is in line with the with the principals and purposes of the charter to use or condone the use of chemical weapons and in the United Kingdom’s view it cannot be illegal to use force to prevent the killing of such numbers of innocent people,” British Ambassador the the UN Karen pierce said.
“Mr. President allow me to insist on this point, last night’s strikes are a necessary response given the chemical massacres in Syria. They are a response in line with law and our political strategy to put an end to the Syrian tragedy,” French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre said.
Meanwhile in Jerusalem, the assessment by Israel’s defense establishment is that the damage that was caused to the Assad regime’s chemical weapons capabilities by the attack in Syria was miniscule, and that the Syrian army had sufficient time in advance to prepare for the Western attack. Israeli officials also believe that the Syrian air-defense systems successfully intercepted a number of the American missiles, as was reported by the Russian military. Nevertheless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during his weekly cabinet meeting, praised the Western response to the Syrian chemical weapons attack – emphasizing the importance of an international position of “zero tolerance for the use of non-conventional weapons.” “Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision to act against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Israel welcomes the participation of British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emanuel Macron in this action. I spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May last night and I told her that the important international message of the attack is zero tolerance for the use of non-conventional weapons. I added that this policy needs to also be expressed in preventing terrorist states and groups from having nuclear abilities,” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu further stressed Jerusalem’s position in which it viewed the Islamic republic of Iran, which backs the Assad regime in Damascus, as “the main element that is subverting the Middle East, more than any.” “I reiterated that the main element that is subverting the Middle East more than any other is Iran, and that President Assad must understand that when he allows Iran and its proxies to establish a military presence in Syria, he is endangering both Syria and the stability of the entire region,” Netanyahu said. The Israeli security establishment has been monitoring Iran, as Israeli intelligence officials are trying to establish whether the Iranians intend to follow through on their threat to retaliate for the attack on the T-4 airbase that was ascribed to Israel. The current Israeli assessment is that the Iranians will retaliate, but they haven’t yet decided when, or how. The Iranians suffered a significant blow, which damaged their efforts to establish an air force on Syrian soil, prompting threats by Iran and its allies, Syria and Hezbollah, of a powerful response that will exert a heavy price from the Jewish state. “I want to tell the Israelis they have to know, I wrote and picked up my words carefully, they have committed a great folly and have put themselves into a direct fight with Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said.
In response to the threats directed at Israel, a senior security official told TV7 that Israeli deterrence against the Islamic Republic and its allies was far more powerful than the general public was aware of. He noted that the statements made by senior Israeli officials that a major act of Iranian retaliation would result in the ousting President Bashar Assad from power was keenly received in Tehran, given the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have backed up their warnings that Israel would prevent Iranian military entrenchment in Syria with action. As a result, the Iranians are contemplating the nature of their retaliation, to avoid Israel following through on its threat.