Chemical watchdog the OPCW convenes as Syria mission begins

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France is urging Russian Federation to join a push for a political solution in Syria after joint U.S., French and British attacks on Syrian chemical weapons sites.

U.S. President Donald Trump lauded the "perfectly executed" strike, the biggest worldwide attack on President Bashar Assad's regime during Syria's seven-year war, but both Damascus and Syria's opposition rubbished its impact.

"The bottom line for me is that this latest strike changed nothing", said Nabeel Khoury, a former USA diplomat and now a fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank.

The strikes targeted three facilities associated with Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, including a scientific research facility around Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility around Homs alleged to be used for sarin gas and a nearby command post, according to the Pentagon.

The limited scope of the strikes and the fact that Damascus had time to remove key assets thanks to prior warning given by the West to Syria regime ally Russian Federation, also drew sceptical comments from analysts.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, warplanes and warships of the U.S., the United Kingdom and France carried out missile strikes over military and civil infrastructure facilities in Syria on Saturday from 03:42 to 05:10 Moscow time on April 14.

But their unified stance appeared to be shaken Sunday when Washington knocked back French President Emmanuel Macron's claim that Paris had convinced Trump to stay engaged in Syria "for the long-term".

Russian inspectors have already concluded that chemical weapons were not used.

UN Security council fails to adopt Russian resolution on Syria
The Russian leader warned against "ill-considered and unsafe actions ... that would have consequences beyond conjecture". France, the United Kingdom and the United States will brief allies on actions taken in Syria , the official said.


Trump hailed the predawn strikes that lit up the sky around Damascus and exclaimed "Mission Accomplished" on Twitter.

Just hours after the Western strikes, the Syrian military declared it had fully retaken Eastern Ghouta, in a key victory for the resurgent regime, which had launched a blistering two-month assault on the opposition stronghold.

The Pentagon said no further action was planned but Washington's envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned that the USA was "locked and loaded" should another gas attack occur.

Those assertions have been denounced as lies by Western officials.

Waving a huge Syrian national flag and banners saying "No U.S. war on Syria", "U.S. out of the Middle East" and "Money for people's need, NO war", protesters massed at a square at 5:30 p.m. (0130 GMT Sunday) and marched around streets nearby afterward.

A Western draft resolution obtained by AFP at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Saturday calls for unimpeded deliveries of humanitarian aid and enforcement of a ceasefire, along with demands that Syria engage in U.N. -led peace talks. The Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation denied the allegations.

New satellite images show a glimpse of the damage done by the strike.

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