USA strikes on Syria represent major shift for Trump

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Syria, ironically, was one of the few areas where analysts believed Moscow and Washington might be able to find common ground.

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.

March 2011: Protests erupt in the city of Daraa over security forces' detention of a group of boys accused of painting anti-government graffiti on the walls of their school.

"President Assad holds the sole responsibility for this development", the leaders said in a joint statement.

Tillerson added, "We feel that the strike itself was proportional because it was targeted at the facility that delivered this most recent chemical weapons attack". Syria's military, however, said Friday morning that six people had been killed and several others wounded in the attack. A United Nations investigation later finds that sarin nerve gas was used, but does not identify a culprit.

"The bad suffering of the Syrian people must be brought to an end as soon as possible and every intervention must be judged on what contribution it makes to that outcome". United Nations investigators visit the sites and determine that ground-to-ground missiles loaded with sarin were fired on civilian areas while residents slept.

Watson described the USA attack as "a direct and proportionate response" to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons in an interview with the Birmingham Mail.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based organization that monitors the war, said a Syrian government or Russian warplane hit Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib province before noon.

The massive strike - the first direct US action against President Bashar Assad's government and Trump's biggest military decision since taking office - marked a dramatic escalation in American involvement in Syria's six-year civil war. The Security Council threatens to authorize the use of force in the event of non-compliance. Syrian opposition officials maintain that the government's stocks were not fully accounted for, and that it retained supplies.

September 23, 2014: The U.S. launches airstrikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria.

"In both word and action, President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated", the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a statement. The panel also finds that the Islamic State group used mustard gas.

Until this week, the US President had suggested that Bashar al-Assad could stay on in power because America should concentrate on fighting ISIS.

Trump had said the attack crossed "many, many lines", and put the blame squarely on Assad's forces. Victims show signs of suffocation, convulsions, foaming at the mouth and pupil constriction.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the upper house's worldwide affairs committee, said it looked like Trump may have been pushed into approving military action by the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies.