- On Saturday, President Donald Trump lauded the US and its allies, the UK and France, for the “perfectly executed” military strikes on Syria late Friday.
- “Could not have had a better results” Trump tweeted. “Mission Accomplished!”
- The operation was undertaken following a devastating chemical weapons attack in a rebel-controlled Damascus suburb which killed dozens earlier this month.
- The strikes drew a harsh response from Russia, a key Syrian ally.
- But the US appears to have anticipated Russia’s rhetoric and Defense Secretary James Mattis warned of “a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.”
President Donald Trump on Saturday praised the US military, the UK, and France for a series of military strikes on Syria that were carried out late Friday.
“A perfectly executed strike last night,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning. “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!”
He added: “So proud of our great Military which will son be, after the spending of billions of fully approved dollars, the finest that our Country has ever had. There won’t be anything, or anyone, even close!”
The joint operation, led by the US, was undertaken in response to a devastating chemical attack in the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb of Douma, which killed dozens of people earlier this month. The attack is believed to have been ordered by the Syrian government, spearheaded by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Friday’s military campaign targeted research facilities that are thought to have been involved in the production of chemical weapons.
The operation drew a swift and harsh response from Russia, a key Syrian ally. Russia has several military bases and troops in Syria, and the US said Friday that it did not coordinate with or notify Russia of the strikes.
The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed the allegations against Syria and said its own experts found no “trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians.”
Following the strikes, Russia called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to address the military campaign. A Security Council diplomat said the body would meet later Saturday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the operation an “act of aggression” that will only serve to worsen the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Meanwhile, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the US, said in a statement Friday that “the worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard. A pre-designed scenario is being implemented.”
“Again, we are being threatened,” Antonov continued. “We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.”
During a week of tense sabre-rattling, Russian officials periodically warned the US that a military response may spiral out of control to war.
“Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible,” Antonov said in his statement responding to the US-led military action. “The US – the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries.”
However, Defense Secretary James Mattis seemed to have anticipated Russia’s rhetoric and addressed it during a press briefing at the Pentagon on Friday evening.
“Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime,” Mattis said.