The United States military launched 59 missiles during the early hours of Friday targeting an airbase in the Syrian province of Homs. The move continues to draw international reactions.
The strike was the Pentagon's first direct attack against Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011.
Syria's official SANA news agency said nine civilians, including four children, were killed and seven people were injured.
The Syrian army also reported that six Syrian soldiers were killed and there was “big material loss” at al-Shayrat airbase.
On President Donald Trump’s order, the US launched the strike on the Syrian airfield in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province earlier this week. Damascus has categorically denied carrying out a chemical attack.
The chain of events in the wake of Tomahawk strikes:
Saturday, April 8, 2017
US attack on Syria army airfield plays into terrorists' hands
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his US counterpart Rex Tillerson in a phone conversation that Washington’s attack on the Syrian army's airfield plays into the hands of terrorists.
Only terrorists will benefit from the US strikes on the Syrian airbase, Lavrov said.
Syrian students protest against US aggression
Dozens of Syrian students gathered outside the offices of the United Nations in the Syrian capital to protest the missile attack.
Russia has more to say
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow would raise the issue of fight against terrorism during a visit by the US secretary of state. The strike was "unacceptable," the ministry said.
The Kremlin said the strike on Syria was linked with a "war" of elites in Washington.
The United States proves its unpredictability by striking Syria, the Kremlin stated. The strike does not correspond with attempts to find out truth about the alleged chemical arms attack, it added.
Ankara sees strike appropriate but insufficient
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara saw the US intervention in Syria as appropriate but not enough.
Speaking in the southern city of Antalya, the minister said if the intervention was limited only to a missile attack on a Syrian air base then it was a "cosmetic intervention" unless it removed President Bashar al-Assad from power.
Iraqi cleric calls for Assad's resignation
Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
The young Najaf-based Shia cleric condemned the killing of over 80 people in the alleged chemical weapons attack last week.
"I would consider it fair for President Bashar al-Assad to resign and leave power, allowing the dear people of Syria to avoid the scourge of war and terrorist oppression," he said in a statement.
Tomahawks draw North Korea's reaction
Pyongyang said the US missile strikes were "an unforgivable act of aggression" that showed North Korea's decision to develop nuclear weapons was "the right choice a million times over."
North Korea's response was carried by the official KCNA news agency.
UK foreign secretary cancels Moscow visit
Britain said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had cancelled his April 10 visit to Moscow due to the recent events in Syria.
"Developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally," Johnson said in a statement.
"My priority is now to continue contact with the US and others in the run-up to the G7 meeting on 10-11 April, to build coordinated international support for a ceasefire on the ground and an intensified political process."
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the pretext used by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to cancel his visit to Moscow was “absurd.”
Maria Zakharova said that Western countries' foreign policies lacked stability and consistency.
Arab League expresses concern about Syria events
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abu Gheit warned against a "dangerous escalation" in Syria after the Tomahawk strikes.
"The Arab League rejects regional and international powers' attempts to politick over the corpses of Syrians or at the cost of its sovereignty," he told reporters.
Friday, April 7, 2017
‘Jets relaunch raids from airbase hit by US’
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said al-Shayrat airbase was launching new air raids against terrorists’ positions in Palmyra.
The UK-based monitoring group said two warplanes “took off from inside the Shayrat base, which is partially back in service, and struck targets near Palmyra.”
Tillerson due to visit Russia next week
A visit to Moscow by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on the agenda for the coming week, the Interfax news agency cited Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying.
"Let him come (to Moscow) and tell what strange things they did," the Russian official said.
People held demonstrations in many cities, including New York and London, against the US president and the missile strike he ordered on Syria.
Holding signs with slogans such as "No war on Syria," the protesters in New York chanted "No more US attack" and "Syria we have got your back" in front of the Trump Tower.
In London, Stop the War Coalition protesters gathered outside Downing Street, holding placards that read "Stop bombing Syria" and calling on UK Prime Minister Theresa May to condemn the attack.
US threatens more military strikes in Syria
Addressing an emergency Security Council session, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley threatened further military action in Syria following the Friday morning missile strike.
"The United States took a very measured," she claimed, adding, "We are prepared to do more, but we hope it will not be necessary."
US working hand-in-glove with Daesh, al-Nusra: Syria UN envoy
Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s ambassador to the UN, censured the US for violating international law by the “barbaric” strike on the Arab country.
“This treacherous act of aggression is a grave violation of the charter of the United Nations as well as all international law and norms,” Jaafari said in a statement.
The US attack on the military airfield killed a number of people, “including women and children, and wide-ranging material damage,” he added.
Reiterating that the Syrian government “does not have chemical weapons in the first place,” Jaafari rejected US claims about Damascus’ possession of chemical weapons as “empty pretexts” for an aggression against the Arab country.
The senior Russian diplomat went on to condemn the US for being “a partner of Daesh and al-Nusra Front” terrorist groups operating in Syria.
US strike act of aggression: Russian envoy
At the emergency Security Council meeting, Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said the United States has violated the international law by conducting the military strike on Syria.
"The United States attacked the territory of sovereign Syria. We describe that attack as a flagrant violation of international law and an act of aggression," Safronkov told the council meeting.
“We call on the United States to immediately cease its aggression and to join efforts to make a political solution in Syria, and to work together to combat the terrorist threat,” he added.
The Russian diplomat further described the US strike as a ploy to distract attention from the “tragedy” the so-called US-led coalition has created by targeting Iraqi civilians in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
“The Mosul tragedy must be publicized, people must know about it,” Safronkov said. “Nothing was said about Mosul.”
‘US a step away from clash with Russia’
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (pictured below) said on social media the strikes were illegal and had been only "one step away from military clashes with Russia."
He added that the US action “completely ruined relations” Moscow-Washington relations.
Syria president slams Pentagon's 'foolishness'
The office of President Bashar al-Assad said in a statement that the "foolish and irresponsible” attack reveals Washington’s short-sightedness.
Damascus said it would intensify operations against foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists.
"What America did is nothing but foolish and irresponsible behavior, which only reveals its short-sightedness and political and military blindness to reality," the statement said.
'We learned of American threat'
AFP quoted a Syrian military source as saying, "We learned of the American threat and the expected military bombardment on Syrian territory."
"We took precautions in more than one military point, including in the Shayrat airbase. We moved a number of airplanes towards other areas."
The source, however, did not specify who had warned Damascus.
EU rejects any military solution to Syria conflict
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the United States' recent missile strike on Syria was not within the framework of the United Nations.
US strike ‘imperils peace efforts’
Gholam-Ali Khoshroo, Iran's ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, called the attack “irresponsible and dangerous.”
The Iranian diplomat further said the attack would work to exacerbate the situation in Syria and the region as a whole.
Reinforcement of terrorists would be the primary outcome of the strike, which would also damage the multilateral peace initiatives aimed at ending terrorism and extremism in the Arab country, notably the UN-brokered process in Geneva, he added.
The offensive, Khoshroo asserted, has been launched using a “false pretext,” adding, “The Islamic Republic strongly condemns application of such (chemical) weapons, whatever be its perpetrators or victims.”
US urges Russia to reconsider military hotline suspension
The Pentagon called on Moscow to reconsider a decision made in reaction to the US strike to suspend military channels aimed at avoiding mid-air collisions during missions in the Syrian airspace.
"The Department of Defense maintains the desire for dialogue through the flight safety channel," Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said.
"It is to the benefit of all parties operating in the air over Syria to avoid accidents and miscalculation, and we hope the Russian Ministry of Defense comes to this conclusion as well," he added.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also expressed disappointment at Moscow's decision to suspend the airspace deconfliction agreement, but described the suspension as “not all that surprising.”
UN chief calls for restraint after US strike
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for restraint, reiterating that a political solution is the only way to end the conflict in Syria.
"Mindful of the risk of escalation, I appeal for restraint to avoid any acts that could deepen the suffering of the Syrian people," the UN chief said in a statement.
"These events underscore my belief that there is no other way to solve the conflict than through a political solution," he added.
Russia's FM condemns the 'aggression'
Sergei Lavrov said the missile strike was "an act of aggression, on an absolutely made-up pretext."
"It reminds me of the situation in 2003 when the United States and Britain, along with some of their allies, attacked Iraq," the Russian foreign minister told a press conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Lavrov hoped that “this provocation will not lead to irreparable damage” to the ties between Washington and Moscow.
Strike planned before alleged chemical attack: Kremlin
The Russian Defense Ministry said Washington had made the decision to strike Syria before the alleged chemical attack in Idlib.
"All accusations by the United States of alleged violation of the 2013 convention on banning chemical weapons were made in order to justify the strikes and are groundless," defense ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said.
He said the strike was directly followed by “a wide-scale assault on Syrian troop positions” by terrorists of Daesh and al-Nusra Front. "We hope these actions by fighters have not been agreed with the American side."
S-400, S-300 defense systems protect Russian bases
Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the country’s air missile defense systems protect its airbase and naval facility in Syria.
"The Russian air defense system in the Syrian Arab Republic is aimed at protecting certain facilities and objects. The S-400, S-300 surface-to-air missile systems and the Pantsir-S1… complex provide solid protection to the Russian bases from the air," the ministry's spokesman Ifor Konashenkov said.
"Combat calculations of the Russian air defense systems in the Syrian Arab Republic are on duty around the clock."
Konashenkov earlier said the Russian military would strengthen the Syrian air defenses to protect its key infrastructure.
"To protect Syria's most sensitive infrastructure, a complex of measures will be implemented in the near future to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of the Syrian armed forces' air defense system." The military impact of the US strike on the Syrian airbase is "extremely low," he said.
Emergency UN task force needed: Kremlin
Russia also seeks an emergency UN task force meeting on the US strike. Moscow called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations ceasefire task force to discuss the attack on Syria, a diplomatic source said.
The source added that Russia wants the session to be held in Geneva at 1500 GMT Friday to discuss "the situation on the ground with connection to the US missile strike on Syria's Shayrat airbase."
Iran: US military fighting on same side as Daesh in Syria
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif censured the strikes against Syria, saying the United States is fighting on the same side as al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorist groups in Yemen and Syria.
Hezbollah says Pentagon acted in 'foolish' way
Lebanon's resistance movement said the “foolish” move by the US military would will lead to serious tensions in the region.
Hezbollah said in a statement that such attacks would not demoralize the Syrian army, whose forces are advancing in operations against militants.
The statement said the strike was in line with the Israeli regime's “ambitions in the region.”
Syria situation international armed conflict: Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the situation in Syria "amounts to an international armed conflict" following the US strike.
"Any military operation by a state on the territory of another without the consent of the other amounts to an international armed conflict," ICRC spokeswoman Iolanda Jaquemet said in Geneva on Friday.
"So according to available information, the US attack on Syrian military infrastructure, the situation amounts to an international armed conflict."
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and the UAE hail barrage of Tomahawks
The regime in Riyadh said it "fully supports" the strike, applauding it as a "courageous decision" by President Trump.
Bahrain also welcomed the attack, and said Manama supported Washington in what it called the fight against terrorism.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said the strike was “an appropriate and necessary response” to the alleged chemical attack. He added that such a military action could hopefully generate effective work to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria.
The United Arab Emirates said Trump’s decision was brave and wise, claiming that it came after the UN Security Council failed to maintain international peace and security.
Turkey's Erdogan comes out in support of strike
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey hailed the US missile strike and said it was a “positive” move. He urged further "serious steps" in what he called protecting the Syrian people.
Yemen's Houthis come out in support of Damascus
Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement strongly condemned the US strike, saying it was carried out based on flimsy excuses and blatant lies.
The Ansarullah Political Council said in a statement on Friday that it supports any Syrian response to the US aggression.
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