The Associated Press reports:
The United States, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for an apparent chemical attack against civilians and to deter him from doing it again, but also stirred up angry responses from Syria’s allies and ignited a debate over whether the attacks were justified.
Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the Friday night raids as aggression that will make the humanitarian crisis in Syria worse and called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations’ Security Council. Putin added that the strike had a “destructive influence on the entire system of international relations.”
Pentagon officials said the attacks targeted the heart of Assad’s programs to develop and produce chemical weapons. Syrian television reported that Syria’s air defenses, which are substantial, responded to the attack. Syrians poured into the streets for defiant demonstrations of their national pride.
The Guardian reports:
It did not appear late on Saturday morning that the attack would trigger a military response from Russia, as Moscow reported that the missiles had steered clear of Russian military bases in the country.
The remarks capped an angry response from across the Russian establishment to the strikes carried out by the US, France and Britain. Russia’s ambassador to the US warned of “consequences”, while a high-ranking Russian politician compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.
Russia on Saturday also claimed that Syrian air defences shot down 71 of 103 cruise missiles heading for military installations using antiquated Soviet technology, potentially raising questions of whether Moscow secretly helped repel the strike.
The Globe & Mail reports:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad struck a defiant pose Saturday, as a video posted online showed him strolling into his office on a sunny morning as if the previous night’s U.S.-led strikes against his country were nothing significant.
As part of its response, the Russian military said it would consider supplying the Syrian army with its advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile systems. Such a move would make future Western interventions much more difficult, while also threatening Israel’s ability to confront Iran’s growing military presence in Syria.
The U.S.-led attacks, which began shortly before the dawn call to prayer across the Middle East, were limited in scope and lasted only a matter of hours. The Pentagon said that it had struck three sites connected to Syria’s chemical weapons program, one in Damascus, and two near the city of Homs.