Is Syria's chemical weapons program completely destroyed?

Monday, 16 Apr, 2018

"We acted to deter the future use of chemical weapons by holding the Syrian regime responsible for its atrocities against humanity", Nikki Haley, UN ambassador for the USA, said.

"We believe that by hitting Barzeh, in particular, we've attacked the heart of the Syrian chemicals weapon program", US Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie said at the Pentagon.

The allies struck a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area, and two sites near Homs.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami also said on Saturday that the missile attack on Syria was another clear example of the U.S. criminal approach against the oppressed nations in the region.

'Thunder' before dawn ● Damascus residents were woken before dawn on Saturday by a series of blasts resounding across the city, very loud even for people used to the sound of heavy bombardment. He said Syria's air defenses were ineffective and that numerous more than 40 surface-to-air missiles fired by the Syrians were launched after the allied attack was over.

Syrian state media reported only three people injured and Russia's defence ministry said there were "no victims" among Syrian civilians and military personnel.

A missile crosses over Damascus in Syria on Friday. Iran's Supreme Leader called the attack a crime and the country's Revolutionary Guard Corps said it gave "the resistance a more open hand", although it did not threaten to retaliate.

The United States, France and Britain on Saturday launched a new bid at the United Nations to investigate chemical weapons attacks in Syria, just hours after firing military strikes against Syrian targets.

It's hard to know exactly how numerous Syrian deaths have been caused by chemical weapons.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad praised Russian weaponry on Sunday as his government celebrated victory over rebels in the town where an alleged chemical attack took place, triggering USA airstrikes over the weekend.

However, McKenzie acknowledged elements of the program remain and he could not guarantee that Syria would be unable to conduct a chemical attack in the future.

His choice of words recalled a similar claim associated with President George W. Bush following the USA -led invasion of Iraq.

On the "Fox News Sunday" program, Haley again slammed Russian Federation, accusing it of enabling the Syrian government to use chemical weapons without worrying about blowback at the United Nations.

The Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vasily Nebenzia called the attacks "hooliganism in global relations" and is accusing the US and its allies of acting before worldwide inspectors have concluded their investigation.

Russia, which is helping Assad fight rebel forces opposed to his rule, immediately condemned the strikes and called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

"Military action was necessary and appropriate to safeguard the effectiveness of the global ban on the use of chemical weapons, and to warn the Syrian regime of further violations", she said in a statement.

The aim, she said, is "to see American troops come home, but we are not going to leave until we know we have accomplished those things".

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah group that has hundreds of fighters backing Assad's forces, said the airstrikes failed to "terrorize or break the spirits" of Syria and its allies.

The military strike was carried out by the US, France and the United Kingdom in response to Syria's use of chemical weapons.

US, British and French forces hit Syria with over 100 missiles in retaliation for a chemical attack blamed on Assad's regime.