Assad office says US strike 'foolish, irresponsible'

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"Hopefully we are seeing a new momentum and a new dynamic by the worldwide community to put an end to this horror and truly have a transition in Syria that would allow Syrians to come back and feel safe and feel protected in their homeland", he said.

American officials believe the mid-week chemical attack which targeted many civilians was launched by a Syrian government aircraft, using a nerve agent, possibly sarin.

Calling the strike a "flagrant aggression", the Syrian Army said it had killed six people and caused extensive damage to the base.

"What is urgent now is to prevent the situation from deteriorating and uphold the hard-won political process to settle the Syrian issue", she said, without directly mentioning US missile strikes in response to the attack.

The Russian leader, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, regarded the USA action as "aggression against a sovereign nation" on a "made-up pretext" and as a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq, Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, was cited as saying. A USA official told Fox News that the primary target was an airbase at Shayrat, outside Homs. "We support the United States in that swift action".

Rubio wrote on Twitter that Trump was "deeply moved" by the images of children suffering the effects of the chemical weapon attack.

"It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons".

Former US general says Trump must answer Syria poison gas with force
But Russia, which has launched thousands of airstrikes against the Syrian opposition, must be persuaded or pressured to break with Assad.

Faisal Alazem, a spokesman for the Syrian Canadian Council, said Thursday's missile strike was long overdue in light of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Syrian regime.

"President Putin considers American strikes on Syria aggression against a sovereign state in violation of worldwide norms, and under an invented pretext", Peskov was reported as saying by Russian agencies.

Nine civilians, including four children, were killed in the United States missile attack on a military airbase in Homs province in the early hours of Friday morning, the Syrian state news agency has said.

After Tuesday's chemical attack, the Russian government said its support for Assad is "not unconditional".

Many world countries gave their support to USA air strikes on Syria on April 7.

"We again say how important it is for a terror-free safe zone to be created", he told thousands of supporters in the city.