On the night of April 14, the United States, France and the United Kingdom dealt about 100 rocket attacks on the territory of Syria, accusing the country’s leader Bashar Assad of using chemical weapons. Russia has opposed – and now this situation risks leading to a new escalation of the international conflict.
Strikes against Syria were caused by chemical weapons, Trump accused Russia
As in April 2017, the cause of missile attacks were reports of a chemical attack, this time in the city of the Duma. Human rights defenders, rescuers and doctors said that bombs were dropped on the city with chlorine and sarin – toxic substances. According to their data , which killed more than 40 people. The World Health Organization (WHO) cited information according to which 70 people were killed, 500 more were poisoned. The fact that the Duma was chosen for the chemists was associated with the offensive of the Syrian authorities against insurgents in East Gut, where this city is located.
The White House accused the Syrian authorities of a chemical attack. Trump called the country’s leader Bashar Assad a “dictator.” The US president also accused Russia of not fulfilling the promise of destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, given in 2013.
— Arturas Kerelis (@arturaskerelis) April 14, 2018
At 3:42 am Moscow time (the time in Syria coincides), a coalition from the United States, Britain and France launched an operation against Syria. Only three countries inflicted more than 100 point-to-air missile strikes of the air-to-ground class – from two US Navy ships in the Red Sea and from bombers from the area of El Tanf. This is almost twice as many missiles as the US launched on Syria after the chemical attack in 2017 . The operation ended at 5:10 in the morning. “It was a one-shot shot,” US Defense Secretary James Mattis said.
The main goal of the coalition was the objects that are associated with the production and distribution of chemical weapons . This includes the research center in Damascus, warehouses in Homs, airports Mezza (Damascus) and Ad-Dumeir (East Guta), as well as the headquarters of the Republican Guard. The US Department of Defense announced that it tried to minimize casualties among the civilian population, since “the blow is directed against the Syrian regime.”
How many hits hit the target – is unknown. Part of the missiles (according to theGeneral Staff of Russia – 71 out of 103) it did not reach, on the approach they were hit by Syria’s anti-aircraft defense. The blows were repelled with the help of air defense S-125, S-200, “Buka” and “Square”, produced in the USSR more than 30 years ago . The use of modern Russian surface-to-air missile systems was not reported.
رئاسة الجمهورية العربية السورية pic.twitter.com/hhIZT6cOTe
— Syrian Presidency (@Presidency_Sy) April 14, 2018
There are casualties, Russian facilities are not affected
According to the Ministry of Defense, the coalition rockets “even theoretically” could not enter the air defense zone over Russian bases. The office explained that the strikes were inflicted on a territory that was not part of Russia’s zone of responsibility. Thus, none of the missiles fell near the base in Tarusa and the airfield in Khmeimim . No one violated the airspace of Syria.
The Russians did not suffer during the attack on Syria. The embassy in Damascus is working as usual. A delegation of State Duma deputies said that she was in the hotel in Damascus, where the missiles did not fly.
The Syrian state agency SANA reported that at least three civilians were injured from the missile fragments near the warehouse near Homs. RIA Novosti, referring to the sources, described six civilians who received the same injuries.
NATO and many countries supported the attacks on Syria
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg supported the alliance of the United States, Britain and France, since it “will reduce the possibility of the Syrian regime for further chemists”;
- Head of the European Council Donald Tusk supported allies and explained that he was on the “side of justice”;
- British Prime Minister Teresa May said that there were no alternatives to military strikes. In her view, the coalition did not intervene in the civil war (“it’s about changing the regime”) and hopes to avoid casualties among civilians;
- The French Foreign Ministry called the missile attacks “justified and legitimate” and stressed that the Syrian authorities chemical attack “crossed the red line”;
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country refused to participate in the attack, approved the actions of the coalition;
- The Turkish Foreign Ministry ” greeted ” the air strike on Syria and called the attack “a manifestation of the conscience of mankind”;
- Many other countries supported the coalition’s actions: Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic, Canada, Finland;
- Against air strikes against Syria, except for Russia, Belarus and Iran spoke.
Russia condemned the “act of aggression”
Russia intends to demand the convening of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council because of the situation in Syria. The Russian authorities expressed doubts that a chemical attack in the Duma in general occurred, calling it a “statement.”
- Vladimir Putin called the coalition actions “an act of aggression against a sovereign state” and “in the most serious way” condemned the “attack” on Syria. The President recalled that the Russian military is helping the government of Syria to fight terrorism.
- The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, blamed the actions of the coalition on the Western media, which allegedly founded the US confidence in the occurred hematock;
- State Duma deputy from Sevastopol Dmitry Belik, who is in Syria, saw in the coalition’s strikes “bad associations with Hitler’s Germany, with their treacherous blow June 22, 1941”.
In Syria there were rallies against bombing
In the morning after the attack on Twitter, Bashar Assad published a video on which the president enters his office. The signature says: “Morning steadfastness.” The blows of the coalition did not affect the government of Syria, the quarters around and the presidential palace.
In the morning after the attack, the people of Damascus took to the street actions against bombing. Protesters decorated the car with portraits of Assad. Judging from the photographs, some armed with automatic weapons and brought to the rallies of Russian flags.
Russian channels arranged spetes – this was not even after Kemerovo
On the morning of April 14, on the day off, the main Russian federal channels – Channel One , “Russia 1” (owned by VGTRK) and NTV – changed the broadcasting grid and staged special airwaves about air strikes against Syria. As noted by “Medusa”, similar situations were not observed either after the An-148 plane crash in the Moscow region, nor after a fire in the Kemerovo shopping center.