In a joint airstrike, the United States, Britain and France bombed sites that the three countries said were linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program, last week. The airstrike was triggered following reports of an alleged chemical attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that left 40 people dead in the town of Douma, outside the capital city of Damascus.
According to reports from the Pentagon, the joint forces hit the Barzah Research and Development Center outside Damascus with 76 missiles, destroying the facility. The second and third targets were in the city of Homs at Him Shinshar chemical weapons complex. The strikes were launched from air and naval installations out of the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and Eastern Meditteranean. While President Donald Trump praised his military for a successful operation tweeting “Mission Accomplished,” the Pentagon was quick to retort, that “this operation does not represent a change in US policy,” and that it was not an attempt to dethrone Assad or be involved in the Syrian civil war.
The airstrikes received extreme backlash from Russia, an ally of Assad’s regime. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the military strikes violated the UN Charter and that if they continue, “it will inevitably entail chaos in international relations,” according to a Kremlin statement on Sunday.
The strikes have ratcheted up the international tension, as the US and Russia exchanged threats of retaliation. The US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has indicated new economic sanctions will be announced Monday against Russia for enabling Assad’s government to continue using chemical weapons. Meanwhile, British PM Theressa May is to appear in the House of Commons to explain her decision to go ahead with the airstrikes over Syria.