Sunday, April 15, 2018

Pentagon Boasts US Coalition Strikes Crippling Syria's Chemical Weapons Ability - Asharq al-Awsat




by Asharq al-Awsat

"These strikes were justified, legitimate and proportionate response to the Syrian regime's continued use of chemical weapons on its own people," Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said Saturday.



The US Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 14, 2018. US Navy/Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels/Handout via REUTERS

Washington- Asharq Al Awsat 
The Pentagon said on Saturday that US Coalition strikes in Syria overnight had successfully hit every target and were aimed to deliver an unambiguous signal to the Syrian regime and deter the future use of chemical weapons.
The strikes significantly crippled head of Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad’s ability to produce chemical weapons, officials told reporters at a briefing, and the Pentagon was not aware of any civilian casualties resulting from the strikes.

"These strikes were justified, legitimate and proportionate response to the Syrian regime's continued use of chemical weapons on its own people," Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said Saturday.

"This operation was carefully orchestrated and methodically planned to minimize potential collateral damage. I can assure you we took every measure and precaution to strike only what we targeted and we successfully hit every target."

At approximately 9 p.m. EST time Friday, the United States, Britain, and France pounded Syria in a coordinated air strike, in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed approximately 60 people last week. The US-led coalition is being called the biggest intervention in Syria's civil war by Western powers since the conflict began in 2011.

Speaking alongside White, US Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Director of the Joint Staff, provided details of the overnight military operation.

McKenzie described the strikes as precise, overwhelming and effective.

"We are still conducting a more detailed damage assessment, but initial indications, are that we accomplished our military objectives without material interference from Syria," he added.

Though some of Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure was still left, “I think we’ve dealt them a severe blow,” McKenzie said, adding it would set the program back for years.

Despite severely damaging the infrastructure with the strikes, McKenzie said the Pentagon would not rule out that the Assad regime still had the capability to use such weapons again.

“I would say there’s still a residual element of the Syrian program that’s out there,” he said. “I’m not going to say that they’re going to be unable to continue to conduct a chemical attack in the future. I suspect, however, they’ll think long and hard about it.”

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump praised Western air strikes against the Syrian regime on Saturday as "perfectly executed", and added "Mission Accomplished."

"A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!" Trump said in a Twitter post.



Asharq al-Awsat

Source: https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1237406/pentagon-boasts-us-coalition-strikes-crippling-syrias-chemical-weapons-ability

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