Key quotes from Trump's unsettling announcement on Syria strikes

The Pentagon said Saturday that a series of military strikes on Syria carried out by a US-led coalition struck at the "heart" of Syria's chemical weapons program.

Green Party co-chairwoman Anna Baerbock said that further military escalation was a mistake, even if it comes in response to the "horrific cruelty of the Syrian regime and its allies".

In Damascus, "hundreds of residents began gathering in the landmark Omayyad square of the Syrian capital. We warned that such actions would not be left without consequences".

The U.S. led airstrikes in a coordinated attack with United Kingdom and French allies against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, President Trump announced Friday night. "The military strike was necessary and appropriate in order to preserve the effectiveness of the worldwide ban on the use of chemical weapons", said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Trump, speaking from the White House on Friday evening said the attack last weekend was "a significant escalation" of Assad's use of chemical weapons and warranted a stepped-up worldwide response.

The raids, in which the U.S. and its allies deployed a total of 105 missiles, were "precise, overwhelming and effective", and "successfully hit every target", he said.

McKenzie said there were no initial reports of civilian casualties in large part because the operation was planned to be carried out during the night.

Mattis had reportedly been arguing for a cautious response that would minimize the risk of the U.S. being dragged deeper into Syria's civil war. The Barzah district of the city - the location of a major scientific research center - has been rocked by the strikes, another witness told the news agency.

Damascus, with key allies Russian Federation and Iran, have lambasted reports of the suspected gas attack as bogus.

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The result is what Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described in congressional testimony on Thursday as "contrary impulses".

Whether or not Mr Assad is deterred by the latest strike-and warnings of more to come if he continues gassing his people-it will do little to alter the the course of Syria's civil war.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said "the time for talk ended last night" with the allied attack on Syrian chemical weapons sites.

The ministry also said that "Poland calls for refraining from actions which could further escalate the situation".

"While the full assessment of the strike is ongoing, we are confident of its success", she added.

French President Emmanuel Macron also confirmed his country's participation in the operation. The former USA diplomat, who said Assad's forces were using chemical weapons in part because they lack manpower, predicted the Syrian leader "will test us - and we will have to do this again". Investigators were due to start their probe later on Saturday.

The Russian President called the attack against Syria "act of aggression" against the country which is combating terrorism on its soil, adding that Russian servicemen help legitimate government to fight terrorist threat in the country.

When announcing the attack, President Donald Trump tried to shame Iran and Russian Federation into stopping Mr Assad from using poison gas again. "It will only use explosive barrels, cluster bombs", he said.

The attack comes just days after at least 40 people were killed and a suspected 500 more were injured in a suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma, in the suburbs of Damascus, which is believed to have been orchestrated by the Assad regime. Like the British Tornado, the twin-engine Rafale could be armed with Storm Shadow missiles that can fly for more than 250 miles.

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