Strikes add to Syrian mess

Standing firm, the Trump administration on Friday [Saturday NZ Time] signalled new sanctions would soon follow the missile attack and the Pentagon was even probing whether Russian Federation itself was involved in the chemical weapons assault that compelled US President Donald Trump to action. One of the banners they carried read: "The Iraqi scenario will not be repeated in Syria".

President Donald Trump ordered the missile strike after watching television images of infants suffering from chemical weapons injuries. Russian Federation intervened on Assad's behalf in late 2015, adding to a fight that now includes Iranian, Turkish, Syrian and extremist forces.

The United States has conducted air strikes against Islamic State, which controls territory in eastern and northern Syria, and a small number of USA troops are helping rebel militias.

Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from two Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has cancelled a visit to Moscow next week as tensions grow over events in Syria.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara sees the US intervention in Syria as appropriate but not enough.

But soon after the attacks he said: "I would not in any way attempt to extrapolate that to a change in our policy or our posture relative to our military activities in Syria today".

He condemned Russia's continued defense of Assad "even after the chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians". Spokesman Sean Spicer said the missile attack sent a clear message to Assad, but he avoided explicitly calling for the Syrian to leave office. "The failure related to the recent strike and the recent awful chemical weapons attack in large measure is a failure on Russia's part to achieve its commitment to the global community", he added.

He had planned to travel to Russia on Monday on a trip meant to start fresh dialogue with the Russian government.

Warplanes on Saturday struck the Syrian town ravaged by a deadly chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, as Russia's foreign minister defended the Syrian government in a phone call with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

In an interview to air Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation", Tillerson said Russians were not targeted by the strikes.

USA allies from Asia, Europe and the Middle East expressed support for the attack, if sometimes cautiously.

Asked whether the government expected the U.S. to ask for further support, Payne said Australia was already advising and assisting personnel in Iraq, building partner capacity operations at Taji in Iraq and operating an air task group.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported that King Salman complimented Trump in a telephone conversation for his "courageous decision".

"But we can't put up with the actions that Assad has taken against his own people", he said.

Assad may have been emboldened by recent American pronouncements that they can do nothing about his presence in the Syrian melting pot in which no one is really quite sure as to who is fighting who and why. The Sunni rulers of Saudi Arabia are in a power struggle for regional dominance with Iran's Shiite government.

"The U.S. has a mission in the region of defeating ISIS, stabilizing Iraq and stabilizing the refugee population".

  • Leroy Wright