U.S.-Led Coalition Launches Attacks On Syria | WBEZ
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U.S.-Led Coalition Launches Attacks On Syria

President Trump announced Friday night that the U.S. and its allies had launched attacks on Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack last week by President Bashar Assad's regime.

In televised remarks from the White House, Trump said the attacks were underway, and that Great Britain and France were also taking part.

The president did not provide details, but U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea, armed with cruise missiles, were in position to strike. British and French forces were also in place.

There was no immediate word on any casualties or damage.

The president said the U.S. prepared to sustain effort until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.

The president also said that "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria." The U.S. has about 2,000 troops in northeastern Syria where they have worked with Kurdish fighters against the Islamic State.

The suspected chemical attack occurred on April 7 in the Damascus suburb of Douma, which had been held by rebel forces for years in Syria's continuing civil war. Rebel forces abandoned Douma following the latest attack.

Referring to Assad, Trump said, "These are not the actions of a man, they are crimes of a monster instead."

In the days leading up to the U.S. attack, Russia had warned that it would defend its troops in Syria. This has raised fears of a possible direct clash of U.S. and Russian forces.

The U.S. strike comes almost exactly a year after a previous U.S. strike, which was also in response to the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons. In that strike, on April 7, 2017, the U.S. launched 59 cruise missiles on a Syrian military airbase.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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