US President Donald Trump has announced he ordered air strikes in Syria “on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities”, in collaboration with the UK and France.
The strikes early on Saturday come in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the former rebel stronghold of Douma last weekend.
“I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said from the White House late on Friday.
Explosions were reportedly heard in Damascus as Trump spoke.
A US official told Reuters news agency the strikes were aimed at multiple targets and involved Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Trump said the strikes were in coordination with France and the United Kingdom.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Britain’s involvement in the intervention, saying: “We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.”
She said the strikes were not about “regime change” or “intervening in a civil war”, but were to “deter the use of chemical weapons” by the Syrian government.
French President Emmanuel Macron also confirmed France’s involvement in the attack.
The purpose of the campaign is to “establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,” Trump also said.
Syrian state TV said that Syrian air defences have responsed to the attack.