Russian Trolls Increased '2000 Percent' After Syria Attack, Pentagon Says

A man walks with his bicycle at a damaged site in the besieged town of Douma

US, UK, France launch air strikes in Syria

Earlier on Saturday, President Emmanuel Macron also said France and its partners "will renew their efforts at the United Nations to allow the establishment of an worldwide mechanism to establish responsibility, prevent impunity and prevent any recurrence by the Syrian regime".

The joint operation came one week after a suspected chemical attack on an opposition-controlled town outside Damascus left more than 40 people dead.

"These are not the actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead", Trump said in an address to the nation.

- The US said "important infrastructure" had been destroyed, resulting in the loss of years of research and development for the Syrian regime.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis and Marine General Joseph Dunford said three main chemical weapons facilities were targeted at 9 pm EST (2 am CEST) by missiles from both the sea and aircraft.

The combined U.S., British and French assault appeared to be more intense than the strike Trump ordered nearly exactly a year ago against a Syrian airbase in retaliation for an earlier chemical weapons attack that Washington attributed to Assad.

"We successfully hit every target", she said.

"The Syrian regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way". Trump added that he is "prepared to sustain" strikes against Syria until the use of chemical weapons stop. A USA official told Reuters that Tomahawk cruise missiles also were involved.

"Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer is calling the airstrikes "appropriate", but says "the administration has to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria".

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AFP's correspondent in Damascus said several consecutive blasts were heard at 4:00 am local time (0100 GMT), followed by the sound of airplanes overhead.

The U.K. -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian war through activists on the ground, said the strikes had also targeted positions of elite Republican Guard forces.

Johnson said: "The world is united in its disgust for any use of chemical weapons, but especially against civilians".

Russia continues to back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, providing military equipment - including air-defense systems - and has sent Russian troops and paid Russian mercenaries to Syria.

"To Iran and to Russian Federation, I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?"

U.S. President Donald Trump said he ordered the U.S. military to launch precision strikes on the targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of the Syrian army.

There were no details on non-civilian casualties.

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is attending the Summit of the Americas in Trump's stead, and is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly said the Russians were warned "ahead of time" - despite claims from the Pentagon that Moscow was not notified. Russian Federation said that the Western powers "cynically" carried out military action hours before a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was set to begin an investigation into the suspected chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta that sparked the intervention by the U.S. and its allies.

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