Allies struck Syria before United Nations report on gas attack

Syrians wave the national flag and portraits of President Bashar al Assad in Damascus on Saturday

Stepping up the pressure on Syria's president, US Ambassador Nikki Haley indicated the sanctions to be announced today would be aimed at sending a message to Russian Federation, which she said has blocked six attempts by the UN Security Council to make it easier to investigate the use of chemical weapons.

It was, instead, about the use of chemical weapons, May said.

Senior US officials expressed confidence Saturday that both chlorine and sarin gas were used in Syria's alleged chemical weapons attack on the Damascus enclave of Douma last week - a conclusion that went a step further than Vice President Mike Pence did in his remarks earlier Saturday.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a press conference in 10 Downing Street, London, April 14, 2018.

On Saturday, she hinted the United States would strike again if Assad used chlorine, but stopped short of specifying which chemical agent she was referring to.

But the only norm we're really enforcing is the one that says the United States is exempt from the laws and norms by which our adversaries must abide.

"We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will", Haley said.

U.S. President Donald Trump praised the military strike on Syria as a "perfectly executed" operation and said it was aimed at ending the use of such weapons of mass destruction.

- The Russian embassy in the U.S. said it had warned that such actions would "not be left without consequences", adding that insulting President Vladimir Putin was "unacceptable and inadmissible".


The British government also published its legal position on the airstrikes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the military action "legally questionable".

Allegations of blame: Western allies accused the Russian-backed Syrian regime of being behind the attack.

The Russian military claimed Syrian air defense systems had intercepted 71 Western missiles, though the Pentagon flatly dismissed the claim and said all missiles hit their targets.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was set to begin its investigation inside the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on Saturday, just hours after the strikes. "This persistent pattern of behavior must be stopped - not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons, but also because we can not allow the erosion of the worldwide norm that prevents the use of these weapons". "All the things that we need to live are being cut", he said.

In total, the USA and its allies fired more than 100 missiles, but the Pentagon could not confirm how many hit their targets. A UN Security Council vote brought by Syria's ally, Russia, and condemning the US-led strikes was rejected.

- French president Emmanuel Macron said "a red line" had been crossed after the chemical weapons attack in Douma.

The United States has warned Syria's government that it is "locked and loaded" to strike again if Damascus carries out chemical attacks.

"Everyone is celebrating and declaring victory which is freakish since so many Syrians have suffered over the years, and the bombings have just taken place", he said.

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