Friday, 20 April, 2018

US preparing new sanctions on Russia over Syria, Haley says

Trump Brings 'Righteous Power Against Barbarism and Brutality' Raw footage shows Damascus sky as Syria hit by US, allied strikes
Patty Aguilar | 16 April, 2018, 10:47

More than 100 missiles were launched early Saturday morning by the USA and its allies France and the United Kingdom, targeting three chemical weapons sites in Syria.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council that the military strikes were "justified, legitimate, and proportionate".

Haley said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will be making the announcement by Monday and it will affect companies that are "dealing with equipment related to Assad and any chemical weapons use".

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has said the struggle between the US and Russian Federation in Syria "must go beyond proxy wars and geopolitical muscling". He added that he knew the media would seize on the phrase, but said it should be used often.

The Pentagon also says none of the missiles filed by the US and its allies was deflected by Syrian air defenses, rebutting claims by the Russian and Syrian governments.

"The goal of this military action was to degrade the Syrian military's ability to conduct further chemical weapons attacks and to dissuade the Syrian government from using or proliferating chemical weapons", Trump said in outlining the legal basis for his action.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed "Israel's full support" for the strikes.

It was the second time Trump has sent a war powers notification to Congress.

On Sunday, Ms Haley made clear the United States would not be pulling troops out of Syria right away, saying USA involvement there "is not done".

The targets included a scientific research facility near Damascus, and two chemical weapons facilities outside the city of Homs, the United States military said, though reports said the buildings had been evacuated in recent days.

"This very easily could happen in the United States if we're not smart, and if we're not conscious of what's happening", Haley told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday".

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"But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted" by Syria and Russian Federation, she said.

Shortly after the airstrikes began, President Donald Trump said all three sites were "associated" with the Syria's chemical weapon program.

The UK, US and France have presented plans for a ceasefire in Syria in the wake of their joint airstrikes on the war-torn country.

He said he would encourage Trump to "listen to your heart, not listen to your generals". We convinced him to remain.

The Pentagon said it knew of no civilian casualties "at this time". The Pentagon said it gave no explicit warning.

Syrian ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said the US, UK and France had undermined global peace and security, and asked the Secretariat to distribute copies of the UN Charter to the three nations in order to "enlighten themselves, and awaken themselves from their ignorance and tyranny".

Muzna Dureid, a Syrian who came to Montreal a year and a half ago, agrees that Friday's strikes don't go far enough in putting pressure on the Assad government.

Haley insisted in multiple interviews on Sunday that the US's actions against the Syrian regime and its supporters, which include Russian Federation, have been aggressive.

The UN Security Council met to debate the strikes, but rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the three Western allies. The US says it suspects that sarin gas also was used.

"The Syrian regime is claiming victory, declaring a Morning of Steadfastness, while showing pictures of Assad supporters in the streets".

Haley said the USA successfully hit the heart of Syria's chemical weapons enterprise, and because of these actions, it is confident that it has crippled Syria's chemical weapons programme. She says the US was confident that they had "significantly degraded his ability to use chemical weapons ever again". Trump suggested Friday's action will be more robust than last year's one-off. The United States of America will not allow the Assad regime to continue to use chemical weapons. But the airfield targeted by the Pentagon resumed operations shortly after the attack and, according to Western intelligence assessments, chemical attacks resumed.

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