What we know about Syria air strikes so far
Missile strikes were launched by the US, UK and France overnight.
The US, UK and France have launched co-ordinated missile strikes on Syria following a “despicable” chemical weapons attack on the town of Douma.
Here is what we know so far:
– Strikes were launched at 2am BST at three sites connected with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons programme.
– The first was at a scientific research centre in greater Damascus involved in the development and production of chemical weapons, the second at a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs, and the third at a chemical equipment storage facility and important command post.
– The US said “important infrastructure” had been destroyed, resulting in the loss of years of research and development for the Syrian regime.
– Four Royal Air Force Tornados contributed to the strikes, launching Storm Shadow missiles.
– US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said double the number of weapons had been used in the strikes compared with the 2017 Shayrat missile strike which involved 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles and was launched in response to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack.
– Mr Mattis and General Joseph Dunford said there were no reports of any allied losses. Syrian state-run TV later reported that three civilians had been wounded.
– General Dunford described the operation as a “one-time shot”, and said no additional attacks were planned, but added that the powers that had signed the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had every reason to challenge Syrian President Bashar Assad if he chose to violate it. The allies remained in close consultation, he said.
– The only retaliatory action was some Syrian surface-to-air missile activity, the US said.
– General Dunford confirmed there was no co-ordination with the Russians and that they were not given prior notification of the strikes.
– Prime Minister Theresa May said the decision to launch the strikes was not taken lightly, but she believed it to be in the UK’s national interest.
– Every possible diplomatic channel had been explored prior to the strikes, Mrs May added.
– Syrian state TV called the attacks a “blatant violation of international law and shows contempt for international legitimacy”.
– US President Donald Trump condemned Syria’s two main allies, Russia and Iran, for supporting “murderous dictators”.
– In response, the Russian embassy in the US said it had warned that such actions would “not be left without consequences”, adding that insulting President Vladimir Putin was “unacceptable and inadmissible”.