Syrian government blasts 'aggression' after Trump orders strikes

Syrian government blasts 'aggression' after Trump orders strikes
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The Syrian government on Saturday lashed out at President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE's decision to order airstrikes against chemical weapons production facilities in the country, calling it an act of "barbaric aggression."

Syria's foreign ministry said the strikes would not "affect in any way the determination and insistence of the Syrian people and their heroic armed forces,” The Washington Post reported, citing state news agency Sana.

The official Twitter account for Syrian leader Bashar Assad also posted a brief video Saturday morning showing him walking calmly through a marble corridor toward what Post said was his office, with birds heard chirping in the background.

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Meanwhile, Assad's allies Russia and Iran on Saturday condemned the U.S., France and Britain for launching around 120 missiles at targets in Syria that they said were associated with the government's chemical weapons efforts.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the strikes targeted three chemical weapons facilities near the Syrian capital of Damascus and the city of Homs, roughly 100 miles north.

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisAllies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump Congress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Trump nominates ambassador to Turkey MORE stressed that the strikes were aimed at crippling the Syrian government's chemical weapons capabilities and were meant as a warning to Assad following an apparent chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma last weekend that left dozens of people dead.

“Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, referring to the retaliatory U.S. strike last year on a Syrian air base after a previous chemical attack. “This time our allies and we have struck harder.”

Trump ordered the strikes Friday after a week of deliberation and discussions with British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump characterized the military action Friday night as "precision strikes" following last weekend's "significant escalation" of the Syrian government's efforts to hurt its own people.

"These are not the actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead,” Trump said, blasting Assad.

Still, some U.S. lawmakers criticized the president's decision to again approve strikes in Syria, arguing Trump should secure approval from Congress for such a move.