clear
Friday April 20th, 2018 12:42AM

The Latest: Syrian leader: West just using pretext to attack

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S.-led missile strikes on Syria (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Syria's deputy parliament speaker says he believes Western countries could again use the pretext of chemical weapons to launch airstrikes on his country.

Najdat Anzour told The Associated Press on Saturday that Western countries want to resume Syria peace talks in Geneva with conditions that include drafting a new constitution, holding presidential elections and forming a Cabinet with the participation of armed opposition groups.

He says such conditions for relaunching the peace talks are "unacceptable and impossible."

The U.S., Britain and France launched airstrikes at Syria earlier Saturday in response to a suspected chemical attack on civilians by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government last weekend that killed at least 40 people.

The allied coalition says it has proof that poisonous gas was used last weekend in Douma. Syria and Russia deny it.

___

2:30 p.m.

Greek police say about 6,000 to 7,000 people turned up at a rally and march in central Athens organized by Greece's Communist Party to protest the U.S.-led missile attack against Syria.

The protesters gathered at Athens' central Syntagma Square before marching to the U.S. embassy, chanting anti-U.S. slogans and holding banners. Once there, they wrote "Americans, murderers of peoples" on the pavement in red paint and tried, unsuccessfully, to lob paint into the embassy's courtyard.

Police vehicles barricaded access to the embassy, and there was a heavy police presence. Protesters left peacefully.

The U.S., Britain and France launched joint airstrikes in Syria earlier Saturday in response to a suspected chemical attack on civilians by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. The suspected chemical attack April 7 killed at least 40 people.

___

2:25 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence say the United States did the morally right thing when it attacked Syrian chemical weapons facilities in retaliation for an attack on civilians.

Pence is crediting the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and U.S. allies for conducting what he says was a successful strike with no reported civilian casualties.

He told reporters at the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, on Saturday that the operation "significantly eroded" and "degraded" Syrian chemical weapons capabilities and that the mission was "completely accomplished."

He also stressed that the president made clear the U.S. is "prepared to sustain this effort."

He says there will be a price to pay if Syrian chemical weapons are used again. Last weekend's suspected chemical attack killed 40 civilians, including women and children.

___

2:20 p.m.

Pakistan says it is following the situation in Syria with "grave concern" and calls on all sides to refrain from actions that violate the U.N. charter.

A Foreign Ministry statement Saturday says Pakistan condemns any use of chemical weapons and calls for an urgent and transparent investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The U.S., Britain and France launched airstrikes against Syrian chemical sites early Saturday in response to a suspected chemical attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government on April 7 that killed 40 civilians, including women and children. Assad's government denies responsibility.

The allied coalition says it has obtained proof that poisonous gas was used last weekend in Douma. Russia and its close ally Syria call the attack fabricated.

___

1:40 p.m.

The U.N. Security Council has rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the United States and its allies against Syria.

Only three countries — Russia, China and Bolivia — voted in favor of the resolution at the end of an emergency meeting of the 15-member council called by Russia on Saturday. Eight countries voted against and three abstained.

A resolution needs at least 9 "yes" votes to be approved.

The vote reflected the deep divisions in the U.N.'s most powerful body, which has been paralyzed in dealing with the seven-year Syrian conflict and chemical weapons use in the country.

The U.S., Britain and France say they launched airstrikes against Syrian chemical sites after obtaining "proof" that poisonous gas was used last weekend in Douma. Russia and Syria call the attack fabricated.

___

1:30 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says the joint military operation by the U.S., Britain and France on Syrian targets has achieved its goals.

Macron's office said in a statement that the French leader talked separately with President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday after the strikes had ended.

The strikes were a response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's government using suspected chemical weapons on its people on April 7, killing 40 civilians.

Macron says, "The operation against the chemical capabilities of the Syrian regime... has achieved its objectives.The French president "praised the excellent coordination of our forces with those of our British and American allies" during the military strikes.

He says the U.N. Security Council must now work together to help the people of Syria.

___

1:20 p.m.

Israel's premier is lauding the American-led strikes against Syria as proof of its commitment to halt the use of chemical weapons.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Saturday that the joint American-British-French operation showed they would not be satisfied with statements alone. Netanyahu warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that his efforts to acquire "weapons of mass destruction" and his allowing Iran to establish itself in Syria threaten his country.

Israel has issued several stern warnings of late about Iran's increased involvement along its border in Syria and Lebanon. Netanyahu has been a strong supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump and complemented his "resolve" in countering the threat.

The airstrikes carried out early Saturday in Syria were in response to a suspected chemical attack against civilians last weekend that killed more than 40 people.

___

1:15 p.m.

U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria have prompted senior Mormon church officials to change their travel plans as they continue a world tour.

A spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Saturday that a delegation led by church President Russell M. Nelson left Jerusalem ahead of schedule over "concerns pertaining to tension in the region and available airspace."

The airstrikes were launched early Saturday in Syria.

Spokesman Doug Anderson says the 93-year-old Nelson, apostle Jeffrey R. Holland and their wives are "cognizant of the conditions in neighboring Syria."

According to Anderson, the delegation is beginning the Africa portion of its trip sooner than planned.

The tour began in London. Other planned stops include Nairobi, Kenya; Harare, Zimbabwe; Bengaluru, India; Bangkok; Hong Kong; and Honolulu.

___

12:50 p.m.

The Arab League's chief has expressed regret and alarm at the latest developments in Syria following the launch of joint U.S., British, and French airstrikes to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for a suspected chemical attack against civilians in the town outside Damascus.

Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit told reporters on Saturday that all parties involved in the crisis, primarily the Syrian government, are responsible for the deterioration of the situation. He says the prohibited use of chemical weapons against civilians "shouldn't be accepted or tolerated."

He also says the issue requires a sustainable political solution for the Syrian crisis.

Aboul-Gheit spoke from the city of Dammam in Saudi Arabia, where an Arab League summit is to take place Sunday.

___

12:45 p.m.

A former officer in Syria's chemical program says the joint U.S., British, and French strikes in response to an suspected chemical attack in a Damascus suburb hit "parts of but not the heart" of the program.

Adulsalam Abdulrazek said Saturday that the joint strikes were unlikely to curb the government's ability to produce or launch new attacks.

Speaking from rebel-held northern Syria, Abdulrazek told The Associated Press there were an estimated 50 warehouses around Syria that stored chemical weapons before the program was dismantled in 2013. He says he believes those fixed storage facilities remain intact or were only slightly moved around.

He says Syria's chemical weapons program was only partially dismantled because Damascus didn't allow inspections of existing stockpiles and capabilities.

___

12:40 p.m.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says Russia's obstruction course at the U.N. Security Council left NATO's U.S, British and French allies no option but to launch a missile attack on key Syrian installations.

Stoltenberg said after a debriefing of NATO ambassadors by the three allies Saturday that "before the attack took place last night, NATO allies exhausted all other possible ways to address this issue to the UNSC by diplomatic and political means."

He added, "But since this was blocked by Russia, there was no other alternative."

Stoltenberg says, "I am not saying that the attacks last night solved all problems but compared to the alternative to do nothing this was the right thing to do."

A U.S.-led airstrike campaign against Syria was in response to a suspected chemical attack against civilians last weekend.

___

12:35 p.m.

Russia is demanding a vote on a U.N. resolution that would condemn "the aggression" against Syria by the United States and its allies.

The resolution is certain to be defeated in the U.N. Security Council when it is put to a vote later Saturday at the end of an emergency meeting called by Russia following airstrikes by the U.S., U.K. and France in Syria against chemical sites.

The short draft resolution calls the "aggression" a violation of international law and the U.N. charter.

It demands that military action stop "immediately and without delay."

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council that the U.S. and its allies struck without waiting for an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, calling the attack "hooliganism."

___

12:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria "degraded and crippled" the country's chemical weapons capability.

Pence told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of a summit in Peru on Saturday that President Donald Trump "made it clear to the world" that the United States "will not tolerate these chemical weapons."

And he says the U.S. is "prepared to sustain this effort if necessary."

Pence is filling in for Trump at the Summit of the Americas in Lima.

Pence says he's hopeful that Russia and Iran will "once and for all abandon chemical weapons" against innocent civilians.

Trudeau has called the airstrikes "unfortunate but necessary."

The airstrikes that hit Syria earlier Saturday were in response to a suspected chemical attack against civilians last weekend.

___

12:25 p.m.

NATO says all 29 of its members in the alliance back the airstrikes on Syria as a consequence of the country conducting a suspected chemical attack against its civilians last weekend.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the strikes early Saturday by the U.S., United Kingdom and France were about making sure that chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity. He noted that the three allies said it was "a very successful action" that significantly degraded the abilities of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces to launch chemical attacks soon again.

On April 7, more than 40 civilians were killed in a suspected chemical attack in Douma outside Damascus. Syria has denied responsibility, but the U.S., France and Britain have said there is no doubt the Assad government was responsible.

___

12:15 p.m.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says President Donald Trump told her if the Syrian regime uses poisonous gas again, "the United States is locked and loaded" to strike again.

Nikki Haley relayed the message from Trump at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Saturday. She says, "When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line."

Haley says the message from the U.S., U.K. and French airstrikes earlier Saturday that "crippled Syria's chemical weapons program" was "crystal clear."

She says, "The United States of America will not allow the Assad regime to continue using chemical weapons."

Haley accused Russia of defending Syrian President Bashar Assad and failing to ensure that Syria's chemical weapons were destroyed as the Assad regime had pledged in 2013.

___

Noon

French Defense Minister Florence Parly says that the joint military strikes by the U.S., Britain and France on Syrian targets was a success and that the mission's goals have been achieved.

Parly spoke Saturday at a news conference following a defense council meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and other officials. She says, "Syria's ability to design, produce and stockpile chemical weapons has been greatly diminished."

Parly says, "The mission is a success. Its military objectives are achieved."

The joint military strikes were intended as a punishment for Syrian President Bashar Assad for a suspected chemical attack against civilians in the town of Douma outside Damascus last week. Opposition leaders and rescuers say more than 40 people, including many women and children, died in the suspected chemical attack.

___

11:25 a.m.

Turkey's president says the airstrikes on Syrian targets in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack were "correct" and showed the Syrian regime that such actions would not go "unanswered."

Speaking Saturday in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his support of the joint American, British and French military operation but said more must be done to hold the Syrian regime accountable for the hundreds of thousands killed using conventional weapons.

He says, "The people martyred by chemicals is a certain amount, but the people martyred by conventional weapons is much, much more."

Erdogan called the days leading up to the airstrikes a "showdown" led by America and Russia. He says he pushed for a peaceful end to the tension in a conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May earlier Saturday.

___

10:10 a.m.

The Pentagon says a Russian "disinformation campaign" has already begun over the U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria.

Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Saturday that "there has been a 2,000 percent increase in Russian trolls in the past 24 hours."

The U.S., Britain and France said they launched Saturday's strike to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for a suspected chemical attack against civilians in the town of Douma outside Damascus. Opposition leaders and rescuers say more than 40 people, including many women and children, died in the suspected chemical attack.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says the attack was an attempt to derail an investigation into a purported chemical attack. The Foreign Ministry says facts presented by Russian investigators indicated that the purported attack was a "premeditated and cynical sham."

___

10 a.m.

The Pentagon is backing President Donald Trump's assertion that the missile strikes on Syria were "Mission Accomplished!"

Trump used the haunting political phrase "Mission Accomplished!" in a tweet Saturday morning to praise the "perfectly executed strike" against Syria. President George W. Bush famously spoke under a "Mission Accomplished" banner in 2003 when he declared that major combat operations in Iraq were over, but the war dragged on for years.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White says, "It was mission accomplished."

However, one of the stated goals of the strikes was to deter Syrian President Bashar Assad's government from using chemical weapons again. It is too soon to know if that will be the case.

White says the strikes "were very successful. We met our objectives. We hit the sites."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News, AP Business, AP World News - International incidents, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Syrian leader: West just using pretext to attack
Syria's deputy parliament speaker says he believes Western countries could again use the pretext of chemical weapons to launch airstrikes on his country
3:44PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Stand by your man: Flyers, Caps riding same goaltenders
After the Flyers stuck with goaltender Brian Elliott and tied their series with the Penguins, the Capitals are going back to Philipp Grubauer for Game 2 against the Blue Jackets
3:19PM ( 29 minutes ago )
The Latest: Pence congratulates Chile's president on victory
Vice President Mike Pence has congratulated Chile's Sebastian Pinera on his return to the presidency
3:10PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Thousands in Greece protest Syria missile attack
Greek police say about 6,000 to 7,000 people turned up at a rally and march in central Athens organized by Greece's Communist Party to protest the U.S.-led missile attack against Syria in response to the country's suspected used of chemical weapons
2:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Pence: US strikes on Syria were morally correct
Vice President Mike Pence say the United States did the morally right thing when it attacked Syrian chemical weapons facilities in retaliation for an attack on civilians
2:26PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: UN council rejects Russia resolution on Syria
The U.N. Security Council has rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the United States and its allies against Syria
1:41PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: NATO says all members back strikes against Syria
The NATO alliance says all 29 of its members back the airstrikes on Syria as a consequence of the country conducting a suspected chemical attack against civilians last weekend
12:25PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: US ambassador: US 'locked and loaded' to strike
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says President Donald Trump told her if the Syrian regime uses poisonous gas again, "the United States is locked and loaded" to strike again
12:17PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: France calls joint strikes on Syria 'a success'
French Defense Minister Florence Parly says that the joint military strikes by the U.S., Britain and France on Syrian targets was a success and that the mission's goals have been achieved
12:03PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
In Peru, Pence updates allies on US-led airstrikes in Syria
Vice President Mike Pence has told allies at a Latin American summit that the U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria "degraded and crippled" the country's chemical weapons capability
1:08PM ( 2 hours ago )
Possible House leader Kevin McCarthy seen by Trump as ally
A Republican operative says House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy thinks he's won President Donald Trump's backing to become next speaker
2:45AM ( 13 hours ago )
In Kentucky, teachers claim victory as vetoes rejected
The Republican-controlled Kentucky House of Representatives rejected the governor's vetoes and restored record-high increases in educating funding, giving thousands of teachers who rallied for the money a key victory
11:05PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Elections
Pompeo vows to confront Russia, dodges Mueller questions
Aiming to quell concerns, Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo vows to ramp up efforts against Russia in "each place we confront them."
7:44PM ( 1 day ago )
Who'll follow Paul Ryan as speaker? Contest hums below radar
Contenders in battle to follow Ryan as GOP leader are choosing words carefully
6:36PM ( 1 day ago )
$30,000 rumor? Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip
The company that publishes the National Enquirer paid a former doorman at one of Donald Trump's New York skyscrapers $30,000 during the presidential campaign for a tip about Trump it never ran
4:23PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
UN rejects Russian attempt to condemn US aggression in Syria
The UN Security Council overwhelmingly rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the United States and its allies against Syria on Saturday
2:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
Western airstrikes unlikely to impact Assad's war machine
The Western airstrikes on suspected Syrian chemical weapons facilities might have rained down punishment from the sky, but they will not fundamentally degrade a war machine whose main bases, weaponry and personnel remain in place
1:38PM ( 2 hours ago )
Russians protest garbage dumps blighting Moscow region
Large protests have taken place in nine cities and towns in the Moscow region over pollution from landfills and against plans to build a garbage incinerator
1:24PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
The Latest: Pakistan has 'grave concern' on Syria situation
Pakistan says it is following the situation in Syria with "grave concern" and calls on all sides to refrain from actions that violate the U.N. charter
2:20PM ( 1 hour ago )
Certain of gas attack, allies struck Syria before UN report
The United States, Britain and France decided to strike Syria for its apparent use of chemical weapons without waiting for a report from U.N. inspectors
2:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
Qatar wants talks on logistics of 48-team World Cup in 2022
Qatar wants talks with FIFA to discuss the logistics of increasing the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams
12:54PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Diplomat says Security Council to meet on Syria
A U.N. Security Council diplomat says the council will meet later Saturday at Russia's request, following the U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria
8:37AM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: Russia: Missiles aimed at Syrian air base downed
The Russian military says Syria's Soviet-made air defense systems have shot down all 12 cruise missile aimed at a Syrian air base
2:53AM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Syria says 110 missiles fired in strikes
A Syrian military statement says the U.S., Britain and France fired 110 missiles during a joint attack on targets in Damascus and outside
2:39AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP World News - International incidents
Trump still mulling Syria strike; Russia assails gas photos
Russia and Britain exchange sharp accusations over the suspected poison gas attack in Syria; the U.S. Navy moves another Tomahawk missile-armed ship within striking range
8:17PM ( 19 hours ago )
3 US banks post higher profits with huge assist from tax law
JPMorgan Chase records its highest quarterly profit in its history, and Citigroup and Wells Fargo also benefit from lower corporate tax rates.
5:24PM ( 22 hours ago )
JPMorgan posts record profit as banks benefit from tax law
JPMorgan Chase records its highest quarterly profit in its history, and Citigroup and Wells Fargo also benefit from lower corporate tax rates.
4:16PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
With new CEO, VW shifts focus from scandal to future tech
German automaker Volkswagen is creating a new management structure it says will enable faster decision-making as autonomous and electric cars transform the industry
8:34AM ( 1 day ago )
Volkswagen's new CEO: We must change faster
German automaker Volkswagen is creating a new management structure it says will enable faster decision-making as autonomous and electric cars transform the industry
6:33AM ( 1 day ago )
New Volkswagen CEO: We must change faster
German automaker Volkswagen is creating a new management structure it says will enable faster decision-making as autonomous and electric cars transform the industry
5:51AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Stand by your man: Flyers, Caps riding same goaltenders
After the Flyers stuck with goaltender Brian Elliott and tied their series with the Penguins, the Capitals are going back to Philipp Grubauer for Game 2 against the Blue Jackets
3:19PM ( 30 minutes ago )
The Latest: Pence congratulates Chile's president on victory
Vice President Mike Pence has congratulated Chile's Sebastian Pinera on his return to the presidency
3:10PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Protesters in Hungary demand recount, new electoral system
Thousands of anti-government protesters in Hungary are marching in the capital city of Budapest in demand of a vote recount and a new electoral system
3:09PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Trump claims success in Syria, but chemical weapons remain
President Donald Trump has quickly declared "Mission Accomplished" for a U.S.-led allied missile attack on Syria's chemical weapons program
3:07PM ( 42 minutes ago )
Storm blasts central US with snow, ice and wind, killing 2
A deadly storm system stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes is buffeting the central U.S. with heavy wind, rain, hail and snow, forcing flight cancellations and creating treacherous road conditions
3:05PM ( 44 minutes ago )