"We couldn't breathe": Inside Douma, Syria, the site of apparent chemical attack

Cheryl Sanders
April 17, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions.

As President Donald Trump basks in widespread approval for the USA -led missile strike aimed at Syrian chemical-weapons installations, the White House still faces a quandary over US policy toward that country's civil war - as well as some sharp questions about the president's war powers.

Pictures from satellite imagery company DigitalGlobe show sites including the Barzah Research and Development Centre and the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Facility have been reduced to rubble.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, November 1, 2017.

The two leaders "found that this illegal action seriously damaged the prospects of a political settlement in Syria", the statement said.

"Vladimir Putin, in particular, emphasized that if such actions continue in violation of the UN Charter, this will inevitably lead to chaos in worldwide relations", the Kremlin said in a statement about the call.

Iran and Russian Federation should not allow the "fire of a new tension" to flare up in the region, Rouhani said, adding that the airstrikes were an "invasion" aimed at "emboldening defeated terrorists", IRNA reported.

The White House says the US mission in Syria has not changed, reiterating that President Donald Trump wants American troops home "as quickly as possible".

The U.S. and European allies determined the Assad regime was behind the assault.

"The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out, with such precision, that the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term 'Mission Accomplished, ' " Trump tweeted.

The Syrian Central Media said six missiles targeted the Shayrat air base in Homs on Tuesday, adding that Syrian air defenses shot down a lot of them.

Addressing told the council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States was confident that the military strikes had crippled Syria's chemical weapons programme.

British Prime Minister Theresa May told restive lawmakers Monday that military airstrikes on Syria were right both legally and morally, and she accused Syria and its ally Russian Federation of attempting to cover up evidence of a deadly chemical weapons attack.

"If you look at what Russian Federation is doing, they continue to be involved with all the wrong actors, whether their involvement in Ukraine, whether you look at how they are supporting Venezuela, whether you look in Syria and their way of propping up Assad and working with Iran, that continues to be a problem", Haley said on Fox News Sunday. "We have done it because we believe it was the right thing to do - and we are not alone".

Socialist Unity Centre of India activists in Kolkata burned an effigy of Donald Trump as they protested the strikes.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that France wants to launch a diplomatic initiative over Syria that would include Western powers, Russian Federation and Turkey.

May faced down her domestic critics as France's premier defended the "proportionate" response to the use of chemical weapons.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has spent his political career opposing British and American military interventions and he told the BBC that the legal basis for the attack on Syria was "debatable".

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also justified the military action in a speech Monday to the National Assembly, France's lower house of parliament.

He also called her justification on humanitarian grounds "legally debatable".

And Mr Johnson defended the strikes in his appearance on the Marr show, stressing the "limits" of what the United Kingdom was seeking to achieve.

May in her statement called it a "limited and targeted strike".

The report came as experts from the global chemical weapons watchdog were in Damascus, waiting to visit the site of the suspected chemical attack in the town of Douma, just east of Damascus.

Other reports by iNewsToday