UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – US President Donald Trump said on Friday he had ordered precise strikes in cooperation with Britain and France against Syrian military installations.
In a televised address, Trump said he ordered the US armed forces to launch attacks against targets related to Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.
He noted that a joint operation with Britain and France was underway.
“The purpose of our operations tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, deployment and use of chemical weapons,” he said. “The establishment of this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States.”
Trump also criticized Russia and Iran for their support of the Syrian government, as well as for their failure to stop the alleged chemical attack on April 7 in the armed area of Douma near Damascus.
“We hope to one day agree with Russia, perhaps even with Iran, but maybe that will not happen,” he said. “The United States has a lot to offer.”
Trump’s speech came without warning. White House reporters said they had been asked not to share the information until the president was on the air “to ensure the safety of our troops.”
In response, Syrian state television reported that the Syrian army faced Western air strikes with air defenses.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauwert said earlier on Friday that the United States had “a very high level of confidence” that Syria was responsible for the latest chemical attack in Douma.
“We can all say that the Syrian government was behind this attack,” she told a news conference. However, she refused to produce the evidence, arguing that it was “sensitive”.
Activists and militants in Syria claimed that Syrian forces used chlorine gas in an April 7 attack on Duma. The Syrian government denied the allegations and described the reports as false news used by the West to justify its attacks on the country.