Warplanes strike Syrian town hit by chemical attack

Assad Shrugs off Trump's Strike, Uses Just-Hit Airbase to Bomb Rebels

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that "terrorists" were applauding his USA counterpart Donald Trump for launching a missile strike on an airbase of his Syrian government ally.

Assad's principal backer, Russia, has said the chemical release in Khan Sheikhun was the result of Syrian jets bombing a rebel weapons store.

The actions against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to a chemical attack come in spite of the prospect of escalating Russian ill will that could further inflame one of the world's most vexing conflicts.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for the formation of an worldwide fact-finding committee to investigate the attack and make clear where the chemical weapons came from.

They catapulted Washington into confrontation with Russian Federation, which has advisers on the ground aiding its close ally Assad.

In his first televised interview, H.R. McMaster pointed to dual USA goals of defeating the Islamic State group and removing Assad from power.

He said Russian Federation should also be asked how it didn't know that Syria was planning a chemical attack since it had advisers at the Syrian airfield.

They targeted aircraft, aircraft shelters, storage areas, ammunition supply bunkers and air defence systems at the Syrian government-controlled facility, according to the Pentagon. Officials said a drone belonging to either Russian Federation or Syria was seen hovering over the site after the assault earlier this week. Iran, another major supporter of the Damascus government, has also condemned the USA military action.

Most mainstream conservatives endorsed Trump's order to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian military air base to punish and warn the Assad regime.

The Idlib chemical attack, in which over 50 people are believed to have perished, was an abominable crime, as indeed are all attacks which involve such ghastly weapons.

G7 members ignore Boris Johnson's calls for renewed sanctions on Russian Federation
He says of the recent chemical attack: "We can not let this happen again". "We must not push Russian Federation into a corner". Beyond the chemical weapons question, there is the larger issue of coming up with a strategy to deal with the Syrian quagmire.

In a letter to Congress on Saturday, Trump said he "acted in the vital national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations" and as commander in chief and chief executive.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also was in Florida with Trump and is scheduled to go to Moscow next week, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the Russian reaction because it showed continued support for Assad.

In Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the US missile strike was a "a strategic error, and a repeat of the mistakes of the past", the state news agency IRNA reported.

A statement carried on the military media arm of Hezbollah condemned the American strike in much stronger language, saying it had "crossed red lines" and vowing to "reply with force" to any future aggression "in a variety of ways".

Scores of people were killed and hundreds were sickened.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and U.N. Security Council president Nikki Haley listens during a U.N. Security Council meeting on Syria, at the U.N. headquarters in NY on April 7.

The secretary of state must be "the spokesman for American foreign policy", said Eliot Cohen, a senior State Department official during George W. Bush's presidency who is now a professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

But President Vladimir Putin has not personally condemned the US airstrike, and some reports suggest he is unhappy that Assad has boxed him into defending what many consider a war crime.

The United States said the base was used in Tuesday's attack, which prompted Trump to reverse years of skepticism about deeper USA involvement in the war and greenlight an escalation.

Like Iran, Russia accused the United States of encouraging "terrorists" with its air strike.

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