Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Braced for air strikes on Syria, some airlines re-route flights

Braced for air strikes on Syria, some airlines re-route flights

"None of our aircraft or missiles involved in this operation were successfully engaged by Syrian air defenses".

Syrian media reported that air defences had hit 13 incoming rockets south of Damascus. "He's always been so keen on strategic ambiguity and that's pretty much signaling what you're going to do", Flake said.

"Good souls will not be humiliated", Syria's presidency tweeted after airstrikes began.

The remarks by Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed claims by French President Emmanuel Macron of "proof" that Syria used chemical weapons in the attack and a declaration that France will respond at a "time of our choosing".

A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the the lead, could send a message of worldwide unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons.

"This issue is of critical importance and the American people should be fully informed about your rationale for deploying American military power and the objectives of any US military action in Syria", Reed wrote, joined by Sens. Syria and Russian Federation deny the attack took place. This is not the first such attack on civilians during the civil war.

USA military officials are probably planning for a larger, more robust strike than the one US warships launched April 7, 2017, in response to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons, said a former senior Defense official familiar with planning for that attack.

Trump on Tuesday cancelled a planned trip to Latin America later this week to focus on responding to the Syria incident, the White House said. He noted that Putin had guaranteed a 2013 global agreement for Assad to get rid of all of his chemical weapons.

Syria's government has denied accusations of using banned weapons such as chlorine or sarin throughout the country's civil war.

Despite the president's rhetoric, it's still not exactly clear what Trump's next move will be, but after reports of a retaliatory strike from US ally Israel on Syria surfaced this week, the prospect of American military involvement began to grow with each presidential tweet.

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Trump says on Twitter Wednesday: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria".

Aviation regulators in countries including the United States, Britain, France and Germany have previously issued warnings against airlines entering Syrian airspace leading most carriers to avoid the area.

At the House hearing, Democrats grilled Mattis on the wisdom and legality of Trump ordering an attack on Syria without explicit authorization from Congress. Mattis argued it would be justified as an act of self-defense, with 2,000 US ground troops in Syria; he insisted he could not talk about military plans because an attack "is not yet in the offing".

Officials of the Trump administration have been discussing with officials of France and Britain a possible joint military response to Syria's alleged poison gas attack.


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned such an attack carried the risk of spinning out of control, suggesting caution ahead of a decision on how to respond to an attack against civilians last weekend that US officials are increasingly certain involved the use of banned chemical weapons.

Aaron Stein, a senior resident fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri center for the Middle East, told The National that "it appears, based on the latest reporting and leaks, that it will be a limited strike aimed at sending a message about chemical weapons use". May "on the need to take action and deter the further use of chemical weapons".

In another series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump bemoaned the state of relations between the United States and Russian Federation.

Merkel stressed the importance of a united position in the face of a suspected chemical weapons attack that the West is blaming on Assad forces.

"I came here to defy the dogs who are threatening Syria", the 43-year-old said. "As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home". A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the the lead, could send a message of global unity. They are in eastern Syria, far from Damascus.

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