As it happened: US, UK and France strike Syria
CNN's live coverage of reaction to the trilateral airstrikes coordinated by the US, UK and France on Syrian targets overnight has now ended.
Head here for the latest developments on this story.
Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White ended a press briefing on Saturday by highlighting that the US had seen a “2,000%” increase in Russian trolls in the last 24-hours. White had been providing an update of the latest developments from overnight airstrikes on Syrian targets by US, UK and French forces.
The Russian disinformation campaign has already begun. There has been a 2,000% increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours therefore we will keep you all abreast of the facts moving forward.”
During a briefing on Saturday morning, Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White called on Russia to make sure the Syrian regime never employ the use of chemical weapons again.
“We call upon Russia to honor its commitment to ensure the Assad regime dismantles its chemical weapons program and never uses chemical weapons again.”
The Pentagon has assessed that nerve agents were present at the Barzah research center that was targeted by the US and allies overnight.
Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, said: “We assessed that there were probably some chemical or nerve agents in that target. However we believe by the way we attacked it, the attack profile that we used” help minimized any concern of how the chemical would be dispersed in the strike.
In a briefing on Saturday morning, the Pentagon provided the following breakdown of the military weapons used to strike Syrian targets overnight.
From the Red Sea:
USS Monterey (Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser) - 30 Tomahawk missiles
USS Laboon (Arleigh Burke-class destroyer) - 7 Tomahawk missiles
From the North Arabian Gulf:
USS Higgins (Arleigh Burke-class destroyer) - 23 Tomahawk missiles
From the eastern Mediterranean:
USS John Warner (Virginia class submarine) - 6 Tomahawk missiles
A French frigate ship (could not understand name) - 3 missiles (naval version of SCALP missiles)
From the air:
2 B-1 Lancer bombers - 19 joint air to surface standoff missiles
British flew a combination of Tornado and Typhoon jets - 8 storm shadow missiles
French flew a combination of Rafales and Mirages - 9 SCALP missiles
Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, said that the strikes on Syria overnight by US and allies were "a powerful show of allied unity."
"We deployed 105 weapons against three targets that will significantly impact the Syrian regimes ability to develop, deploy and use chemical weapons in the future. It’s been said before but I want to emphasize again that by compassion, this strike was double the size of the last strike in April 2017."
Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, said that the coordinated strikes which struck targets in Syria overnight will set the country's chemical weapons capability back “for years.”
He added that "none of our aircraft or missiles in this operation were successfully engaged" by Syrian regime.
Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White has taken the podium for a briefing on the strikes executed by the US and allies overnight.
White told reporters the strikes “successfully hit every target" and that the allies “took every measure and caution” to only hit the intended targets.
UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Saturday that British strikes against Syria as part of a coalition alongside France and the United States have no legal basis.
"You could only do it under the basis of self-defense – if there was a direct threat to us, and there wasn't,” Corbyn told reporters.
The leader of UK's Labour party called for British Prime Minister Theresa May to publish a full legal basis and justification for the airstrikes.
He also criticized the British PM for appearing to take cues from her American counterpart, US President Donald Trump, before questioning why May had not waited for approval by the UK Parliament.
“Parliament should be consulted, parliament should be allowed to take a view on this, but instead the strikes were launched last night,” said Corbyn. “She could have come to Parliament on Monday to discuss the whole situation and instead they have launched the strikes.”
The British Prime Minister is not obliged to put the matter to a vote in Parliament.