Iran is the key backer alongside Russian Federation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, providing military advisors and "volunteer" ground forces.
French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian makes an official statement with French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly (not pictured) in the press room at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, April 14, 2018.
US Defense Secretary Jim Matt and other military leaders had warned that the larger the attack, the greater the risk of a confrontation with Russian Federation, two US officials said. "The United States has vital national interests in averting a worsening catastrophe in Syria and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons".
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. "We know there are only certain countries, like Syria, that have delivery mechanisms and have those types of weapons".
Damascus's ally Moscow reacted with fury to the strikes and said it was calling an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council.
"And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America", he said. The United States and our allies must stand together on the world stage against Assad's reign of terror and to protect innocent human life.More news: Commonwealth Games: Semenya mulls longer distance after double gold
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In the six days between the attack and the US-led response, Washington and Moscow clashed repeatedly in duelling press statements and USA debates. The Pentagon said it would provide a more detailed assessment on Saturday morning.
I also have a message tonight for the two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing the criminal Assad regime.
"Syrian means of air defense: S-125, S-200 air defense systems, Buk and Kvadrat were used in the repelling the missile strike".
"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria", he declared.
French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke in addresses to their nations within minutes of Trump's statement.
Military action was taken by all three nations in a co-ordinated military response to a suspected chemical attack on Syrian civilians last weekend.
Behind closed doors, Trump pushed for a more aggressive response than the one taken a year ago, wanting options that would involve attacks on targets in Syria associated with Russian Federation and Iran, officials said.