The Pentagon says the Syrian chemical weapons program has been set back years after producing visual slides to prove the effectiveness of the West's missile attack.

It comes after an eventful 24-hours for the Syrian crisis, with tweets from US President Donald Trump, retaliation from Russian President Vladimir Putin and an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council in which Russia's UN Ambassador accused the allies of "hooliganism".

The US and allies fired missiles into the Syrian capital in an hour-long strike aimed at chemical weapons operations on Saturday. The bombardment was in retaliation for a poison gas attack, that the US President Donald Trump called an "evil and despicable attack" on Syrian civilians.

Overnight Donald Trump praised France and the United Kingdom in a series of tweets where the US President boasted: "Mission accomplished".


Then, in a press conference, The Pentagon's General Kenneth McKenzie said all military objectives in the US, British and French strikes were accomplished, describing them as "precise, overwhelming and effective".

A joint US-British-French operation used ships, a submarine and warplanes to launch a barrage of 105 guided missiles towards three chemical weapons facilities in Syria, he said, including a research centre on the outskirts of Damascus.

"We sent a very clear message last night and we hope that he heard it."

He added that "no Syrian weapon had any effect" on the Western operation, despite Russia's insistence many had been intercepted by air defences.

General McKenzie said he was unaware of any civilian casualties "as of now".

General McKenzie noted Syria had fired about 40 unguided surface-to-air missiles, most of which didn't launch until after the allied strike was over. These missiles may have come down in populated areas, he said.

"When you shoot iron into the air without guidance, it's going to come down somewhere," McKenzie said.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said she was confident the Assad government's chemical weapons program had been badly hit and was "confident we have significantly degraded his ability to use chemical weapons again".

This image released by the Department of Defense, shows a map displaying areas targeted in U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria. Photo / AP
This image released by the Department of Defense, shows a map displaying areas targeted in U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria. Photo / AP

"This operation was carefully orchestrated and methodically planned to minimise potential collateral damage. I can assure you we took every measure and precaution to strike only what we targeted and we successfully hit every target."

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told a UN Security Council meeting that the US was "locked and loaded" and ready to launch more military strikes on Syria if President Bashar al-Assad's forces carry out a new chemical weapons attack.

"If the Syrian regimen uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded," US Ambassador Nikki Haley told a Security Council meeting

"When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line."


Soon after the Pentagon's press conference Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia read a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing the US, France and Britain of "hooliganism".

"You want to run international affairs like this? It's hooliganism in international relations," he said.

He called the western air strikes an act of aggression against Syria and that the "US panders to terrorists in Syria".

"Russia has done everything possible to deter the US from further destabilising the region", he said, adding the US demonstrated a blatant disregard for international law .

He said the military strikes "makes catastrophic humanitarian situation worse".

Part of a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to military strikes.
Part of a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to military strikes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the Western strikes, describing them as "an act of aggression" and condemned them "in the most serious way".

Russia issued a dire threat to the United States and its allies following the massive air strike on targets in Syria, warning there will be "consequences".

In a statement posted by the Kremlin, Mr Putin said the United States had launched "an aggression against a sovereign state which is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism."

He said Russia would call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council "to discuss the aggressive actions by the US and its allies".

Mr Putin claimed Russian military experts "did not find any traces of chlorine or any other toxic agent" and that "not a single local resident was able to confirm that a chemical attack had actually taken place".

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad meanwhile described his "determination" to keep fighting.

According to the Syrian President's Twitter page, Assad said in a telephone call with Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that the missile strikes made him more determined to "crush terror in every inch of the country".

Russia's ambassador to the United States says there would be consequences for the US-led military strikes, adding that it was not acceptable to insult Russia's president.

"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented," Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said in an explosive comment on Twitter.

"Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences."

He added: "Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissable. The US — the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons — has no moral right to blame other countries."

Russia's foreign ministry said the strikes came as the country had "a chance of a peaceful future."

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook: "Those behind all this claim moral leadership in the world and declare they are exceptional. You need to be really exceptional to shell Syria's capital at the moment when it had gained a chance of a peaceful future."


British Prime Minister Theresa May has detailed the United Kingdom's role in the allied attacks on Syria and refused to rule out the possibility of further military action.

Appearing before the world's media in Downing Street, the Prime Minister revealed four British Tornado fighter jets armed with Storm Shadow cruise missiles targeted a military facility approximately 24 kilometres from Homs, a city in western Syria.

She said the "collective action" between the US, UK and France "sends a clear message that the international community will not stand by and tolerate the use of chemical weapons.

"I also want to be clear that this military action to deter the use of chemical weapons does not stand alone. We must remain committed to resolving the conflict at large."

Mrs May said allied forces believe the city is where the regimen keeps chemical weapons, "in breach of Syria's obligations under the chemical weapons convention".

"We are also clear about who was responsible for this atrocity. A significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian regimen is responsible for this latest attack.

"No other group could have carried out this attack."

She described last week's chemical attack in Douma, which killed at least 75 people and injured 500 more, as "despicable and barbaric" and described images of "men, women and children lying dead with foam in their mouths" as "despicable".

"These were innocent families who at the time when chemical weapons were unleashed were seeking shelter underground in basements," Mrs May said.

"Our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted both on the ground and in the United Nations.

"We have no choice but to conclude that diplomatic action on its own will not be any more effective in the future than it has been in the past."


Loud explosions rocked Syria's capital and filled the sky with heavy smoke early Saturday after Mr Trump announced the air strikes in response for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons.

Syrian media claimed that air defences hit 13 rockets south of Damascus.

After the attack ceased and the early morning skies went dark once more, vehicles with loudspeakers roamed the streets of Damascus blaring nationalist songs. "Good souls will not be humiliated," Syria's presidency tweeted after air strikes began.

In a live address to the nation, President Trump said the strikes were aimed at deterring chemical weapons use.

"A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad," Trump said in his address from the White House.

"Last Saturday, the Assad regimen again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians, this time in the town of Douma near the Syrian capital of Damascus. This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons used by that very terrible regimen'" he said.

"The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead."

Mr Trump said he was prepared to "sustain" the assault against Syria.

But that the US did not want an "indefinite presence" in Syria and would only stay until Islamic State was destroyed.

In strong words directed at the countries supporting Syria, Mr Trump said they would be judged by the friends that they kept.

A Syrian soldier films the damage of the Syrian Scientific Research Center which was attacked by U.S., British and French military strikes. Photo / AP
A Syrian soldier films the damage of the Syrian Scientific Research Center which was attacked by U.S., British and French military strikes. Photo / AP

"To Iran and to Russia, I ask: 'What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?'"

He called them "most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regimen".

He said the action would protect US national security.

"The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power — military, economic, and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regimen stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.''

He continued: "Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilised nations as a force for stability and peace. Hopefully, someway we'll get along with Russia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not," Mr Trump said.

Mr Trump said Britain, France and the US had "marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality".