Syria strikes: Site of chemical attack hit again

Posted April 19, 2017

Instead, the decision to blast 60 Tomahawk missiles from a US Navy destroyer to wreak havoc inside Syria sends an entirely different signal that will put Damascus and other rogue regimes on notice and shape relations with Syria's ally and protector Russian Federation just as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to visit Moscow.

This comes less than a week after the former SC governor parroted U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that "our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out".

President Donald Trump speaks after the US fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., April 6, 2017.

Last week's missile strike on a Syrian airfield in retaliation for a vicious chemical weapons attack will not make it any easier to solve the Syrian quagmire, but it was the right thing to do.

Johnson said the situation in Syria has changed "fundamentally" following the chemical attack and the USA response.

A key test of whether the relationship can be salvaged comes next week when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson becomes the first Trump Cabinet member to visit Russian Federation.

Eighty-six people including at least 27 children died in Khan Sheikhun in an attack the United States has blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Sources said Mr Johnson was "relaxed" about who delivers the West's message to Moscow next week following the air strikes, while there was concern on both sides of the Atlantic that two trips a few days apart may allow the Russians to "split hairs". Just last week, US officials said removing Assad from power was not a "priority".

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has cancelled a planned trip to Moscow following USA missile strikes in Syria.

The raid [on Friday] was the first time USA forces have directly attacked Syrian government positions.

At the United Nations on Friday, Russia's deputy ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, strongly criticized what he called the U.S.

I directed this action in order to degrade the Syrian military's ability to conduct further chemical weapons attacks and to dissuade the Syrian regime from using or proliferating chemical weapons, thereby promoting the stability of the region and averting a worsening of the region's current humanitarian catastrophe.
"It is necessary to make it absolutely clear that such USA military action is unacceptable to us", the spokeswoman added.

After dinner Thursday, the president informed Xi that US missiles had just made impact in Syria.

Russian Federation has criticised the U.S. military intervention as a "gross... violation of worldwide law". The Observatory said they attacked a position of the Islamic State group, while Osama Abu Zeid of the Homs Media Center said they landed at the nearby T4 air base, but did not carry out any attacks. Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saturday that the USA intervention was only "cosmetic" unless it removes Assad from power.

That was an apparent shift from his comments to reporters on Thursday night, when he said, "It would seem there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people".

"If we can achieve ceasefires in zones of stabilization in Syria, then I believe - we hope we will have the conditions to begin a useful political process", Tillerson said.

While the Syrian opposition applauded the USA cruise missile attack on an air base near Homs on Friday, it said it should not be a one-off and was not enough on its own to stop government warplanes from hitting rebel-held areas.

The decision undercut another campaign promise for Trump: his pledge to try to warm relations with Moscow.

USA military officials said they are investigating possible Russian involvement.

New airstrikes have targeted a town in northwest Syria that was hit by a deadly chemical attack earlier this week, activists said. The drone returned late in the day as citizens were going to a nearby hospital for treatment.