Syrian air defenses shot down 13 missiles fired in a U.S.-led attack on the country on Saturday, Syrian state TV said.
It said the missiles had been shot down in the Kiswah area south of Damascus, the capital.
President Donald Trump said Friday evening in a national address that he ordered precision strikes in Syria in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad’s ‘evil and despicable’ poison gas attack that killed up to 75 people last weekend.
Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire after Donald Trump announced the strikes
Speaking from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, the commander-in-chief of the United States said the strikes pummeled targets associated with Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities.
‘This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by the very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.’ Trump said of the Syrian dictator’s horrific April 7 attack on innocent civilians. ‘These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster, instead.’
Trump forcefully confronted Iran and Russia for aligning themselves with ‘barbarism and brutality’ and said the United States and its allies in the strike, France and Britain, are prepared ‘to sustain this response’ until Assad discontinues his use of internationally prohibited nuclear weapons.
‘What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?’ Trump asked. ‘The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.’
‘The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,’ Trump said.
Donald Trump is pictured addressing the nation from the White House, announcing the retaliatory airstrikes on Syria
The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US, Britain and France launches an attack on Syria
Trump said a combined operation with France and Britain was under way and that they were prepared to sustain the response until Syria stopped its use of chemical weapons.
But he said America does not seek ‘an indefinite presence’ in Syria and will look to pull out its troops once the Islamic State is totally defeated.
According to CNN, at least one US Navy warship based in the Red Sea took part in the strikes. US B-1 bombers were also used.
Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.
Mattis briefed reporters at the Pentagon Friday an hour after Trump announced the strike.
Mattis said the United States, along with France and the United Kingdom, struck because Syrian President Bashar Assad ‘did not get the message’ when the U.S. launched airstrikes after a chemical attack in 2017.
The defense secretary said Friday’s strikes have ‘sent a clear message’ to Assad and his ‘murderous lieutenants.’
Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (right) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford (second from right) brief members of the media on Syria at the Pentagon
Mattis said the strikes are ‘directed at the Syrian regime’ and they have ‘gone to great lengths to avoid civilians and foreign casualties.’
Mattis said the U.S. has no reports of suffering any losses during the initial airstrikes on Syria Friday. Mattis said ‘right now this is a one-time shot’ but is not ruling out further attacks. President Donald Trump had said earlier that the campaign against the regime of Bashar Assad could be ‘sustained.’
The defense secretary says the airstrikes were launched against several sites that he says helped provide Assad’s ability to create chemical weapons.
Mattis said he is ‘absolutely confident’ that Syrian President Bashar Assad is behind the alleged chemical attack on his people that the U.S. and allies retaliated against Friday night.
He says the U.S. is ‘very much aware of one of the chemical agents used.’ And he says there may have been a second.