- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 14, 2018

President Trump declared “mission accomplished” Saturday after U.S. military forces carried out missile strikes with Britain and France against Syrian chemical-weapons facilities.

“A perfectly executed strike last night,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”

The strikes Friday night hit three sites — one in Damascus, two in Homs —which Mr. Trump said were “associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.”

At least three U.S. ships, as well as piloted warplanes, participated in the airstrikes. Pentagon officials said Friday night that Syrian forces returned fire with surface-to-air missiles, but initial assessments were that allied forces suffered no losses.

Syrian state TV said three civilians were wounded in Homs after “several” missiles were intercepted by Syrian air defense systems.

Russia and Iran, supporters of the Assad regime, condemned the strikes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the missile strikes an “act of aggression against a sovereign state” and said they were against the United Nations charter. He said Russia is calling for an immediate U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss the “aggressive actions” of the U.S. and its allies.

The Security Council will hold an emergency meeting at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Mr. Trump ordered the airstrikes in response to Syria’s chemical-weapons attack last weekend in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, which killed dozens of civilians, including children.

Mr. Assad said the airstrikes would “only increase the determination of Syria and its people to continue fighting and crushing terrorism in every inch of the country,” according to Syrian state TV.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the U.S. and its allies had committed a “major crime” in Syria.

Mr. Trump praised the U.S. military for its mission.

“So proud of our great Military which will soon be, after the spending of billions of fully approved dollars, the finest that our Country has ever had,” he said. “There won’t be anything, or anyone, even close!”

Some Democratic lawmakers criticized Mr. Trump for taking military action without seeking an authorization of force from Congress. Republicans generally praised the attack.

“President Trump, along with our allies, organized the right response to Bashar al-Assad’s horrific chemical attack,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican. “I commend the swift action on the part of all the military forces that carried out this mission. I support this effort and believe the president has the full authority to take these actions.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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