United States surgical strikes against Syria on

039;We can resolve all issues by picking up the phone' – Russia's FM spokesperson on Syria standoff

The decision to strike, after days of deliberations, marked Trump's second order to attack Syria; he authorized a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles to hit a single Syrian airfield in April 2017 in retaliation for Assad's use of sarin gas against civilians.

Syria's foreign ministry on Saturday denounced Western strikes as a "brutal, barbaric aggression" hours after the US, France, and Britain launched a joint operation against military installations. "They are crimes of a monster instead".

PARIS, April 14 (Reuters) - France said on Saturday it would not hesitate to strike Syrian government targets again if the chemical red line was crossed, but that no new strikes were planned at this stage, adding that it would renew a push for peace through dialogue with Russian Federation.

Smoke was seen rising from east Damascus and the lit-up sky turning orange for the blasts while a huge fire could be seen from a distance to the east.

Russia's US embassy released a statement warning that the airstrikes will "not be left without consequences". He said another attack with "a number of missiles" targeting a scientific research center in Barzeh, near Damascus, destroyed a building and caused other material damage but no human losses. The Russian defence ministry said none of the rockets launched had entered zones where Russian air defense systems are protecting facilities in Tartus and Hmeimim.

Syrian soldier wave weapons and national flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations following a wave of U.S., British and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for suspected chemical attack against civilians, in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April 14, 2018.

The targets included a Syrian center in the greater Damascus area for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological weaponry as well as a chemical weapons storage facility near the city of Homs.

Four UK Tornado jets targeted one of the sites - the facility to the west of Homs.

Mr Johnson tweeted: Welcome the news of United Kingdom military strikes against major chemical weapons facilities in Syria alongside our U.S. and French allies.

In addition to Assad's denials, Russia, one of Syria's staunchest allies, has also dismissed the allegations as "fake news", and said its own experts found no "trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians".

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Ambassador Antonov said: "Insulting the President of Russian Federation is unacceptable and inadmissible". Russian Ambassador to Beirut Alexander Zasypkin cited orders by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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In another series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump bemoaned the state of relations between the United States and Russian Federation . It has described the reports of the chemical attack as a "provocation" created to justify Western intervention against its ally.

In a televised statement Saturday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said UK forces had undertaken a "limited and targeted strike" and that there had been "no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime".

The airstrikes were "not about intervening in a civil war (or) regime change", May said.

France's foreign minister said the "chemical escalation" in Syria is not acceptable because it's violating the rules of war and of humanity.

The US has about 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria as advisers to a makeshift group of anti-Islamic State fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The alleged chemical weapons use was not the work of "a man", Trump said.

"To Iran and to Russian Federation, I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?"

U.S. Defense Secretary General James Mattis said air strikes will not take place, unless the Syrian President Beshar al-Assad uses chemical weapons again.

Macron said: "We can not tolerate the employment of chemical weapons".

The US said the only communications that took place between the United States and Russian Federation before the operation were "the normal deconfliction of the airspace, the procedures that are in place for all of our operations in Syria". "Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran, that put its territory, its forces and its leadership at risk", the official said. Syrian military were responding to the air strikes with anti-aircraft weapons.

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