scores of civilians.
The Pentagon said the Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from two warships in the
Mediterranean at the Shayrat airfield, targeting the base from where US
officials believe Tuesday's attack in Khan Sheikhoun had been launched. At least six people were killed in the early morning
strike, according to the Syrian army, which denounced the US
"aggression" as a violation of international law.
US President Donald Trump said in a televised statement after the strike:
"There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons,
violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and
ignored the urging of the UN Security Council."
In a statement of the Syrian SANA news agency however
read on television, the Syrian military said the US strikes were done on a
"pretext" of the Khan Sheikhoun attack, without the full facts being
disclosed.It also said the attack, which caused extensive to the base, made the US a partner of "terrorist groups".
Russia, a key military ally of the Assad government, strongly condemned the strikes, saying Washington's action would "inflict major damage on US-Russia ties", according to Russian news agencies. Russia suspended the agreement with the USA about the coordination to avoid collsions in the air above Syrian territtory when executing airstikes.
The Pentagon said that Russia had been notified ahead of the
operation - but US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that
Washington had "sought no approval from Moscow".
Te American strikes were also strongly condemned by Iran. However Saudi Arabia voiced support. Turkey said it viewd them positively, Britain said the US action was an
appropriate response to the "barbaric chemical weapons attack" launched
by the Syrian government and Italy, Israel, and Australia also lauded the attacks.
On Tuesday more than 70 people died and hundreds were wounded in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, near Idlib, after a Syrian bombardment. The symptoms were similar to those when toxic nerve gas like Sarin would have been used. The odds pointed at the Syrian airforce. Syria denied to have used chemical weapons.The Russian foreign ministry provided the explanation that the Syrians bombarded a stockpile kept by rebels in the area, which contained chemical elements.