Pentagon: Coalition strikes successful in Syria as Trump declares 'mission accomplished'

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United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to members of the United Nations Security Council during an emergency meeting on Syria at the U.N. headquarters in NY, U.S., April 14, 2018.

"When our President draws a red line, our President enforces the red line", she said.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the UN meeting in NY that the USA and its allies struck without waiting for an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, branding the attack "hooliganism".

Criticizing the United States and its allies for launching the missile strikes despite absence of any proven evidence regarding the use of chemical weapons by Syrian government, Iran's Foreign Ministry said America and its allies will assume responsibility for the regional and trans-regional consequences of this adventurism.

Last April, the Trump administration bombed a Syrian airfield after a deadly Sarin gas attack on innocent civilians.

The U.S., the United Kingdom, and France carried out joint strikes on Syrian targets on Saturday.

This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows anti-aircraft fire in the sky after USA -led airstrikes targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons early on Saturday.

"Last night, we obliterated the major research facility that it used to assemble weapons of mass murder", Haley said Saturday.

Trump's tweet Saturday morning recalled former President George W. Bush's infamous declaration, standing aboard an aircraft carrier in 2003, that the US had accomplished its mission in Iraq.

Some critics, like Northwestern University political science professor Ian Hurd, say the decision to strike might be more about distracting from President Trump's political scandals than confronting the Assad regime.

The Arab League's chief has expressed regret and alarm at the latest developments in Syria following the launch of joint airstrikes to punish Assad.

"He is used to using chemical weapons", Le Drian said, adding: "For them it's become banal, but one had to put and end on it", he added.

A rebel-held stronghold near the town of Douma was hit with chemical weapons last weekend, killing scores of men, women and children, according to first responders and global observers.

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An investigation was scheduled to be conducted by United Nations Weapons Inspectors on Saturday, at the same sites demolished by coalition forces.

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, questioned French intelligence which concluded that a suspected chemical attack took place and said if any chemical stock were proven to be there, "Russia would be the first to want to stop such an attack".

Immediately following Trump's televised address Friday night, announcing the US -led strikes, loud explosions and thick smoke were reported in the Syrian capital city, Damascus.

During a week of tense sabre-rattling, Russian officials periodically warned the United States that a military response may spiral out of control to war.

"We can not tolerate the normalisation of the employment of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger to the Syrian people and to our collective security". He said he believes those fixed storage facilities remain intact or were only slightly moved around.

He said the airstrikes were launched against several sites that helped provide al-Assad with the ability to create chemical weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the air strikes and said they were an "act of aggression" that will only worsen the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, AP reported.

Earlier this week, Trump called the chemical attack in Douma "atrocious" and vowed that those responsible would "pay a price".

Yet according to the US Defense Department, though Russian radar systems in Syria were on and detected US warplanes planes, Russia chose not to fire on them, instead only attempting to shoot down some of the cruise missiles.

Russian social media buzzed Saturday with angry nationalist comments blasting Putin for failing to protect his ally.

It's the second time Trump has authorized bombing targets in Syria after a chemical attack.

At least six loud explosions were heard in Damascus in the early hours of Saturday and smoke was seen rising over the Syrian capital, a witness said.

"The people martyred by chemicals is a certain amount, but the people martyred by conventional weapons is much, much more", he said.