A barrage of missiles against Syria by American, French and British forces most likely will not stop President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons program, a Pentagon assessment has concluded, despite President Trump’s “Mission Accomplished!” declaration hours after last weekend’s strikes.
The military intelligence report, put out less than three days after the attack, said the allied airstrikes likely set back Mr. Assad’s production of sarin gas.
But it found that the Syrian president is expected to continue researching and developing chemical weapons for potential future use, according to an American intelligence analyst who has seen the document and described it to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.
The military intelligence report indicated that the Barzeh research and development center in Damascus was destroyed, according to the analyst. Most of the missiles were aimed at the Barzeh facility, where the Western allies believed the Assad government was rebuilding its chemical weapons program. It has been closely monitored since the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found precursors for nerve agents there in 2014.
The other two sites — the Him Shinshar chemical weapons bunker and storage facility in Homs — were severely damaged. But the analyst said the report cited surveillance assets that watched a five-ton truck leave one of those sites, the day before it was struck, with a tarp-covered load that could have included equipment or chemical weapons. [Continue reading…]
Russia’s foreign minister said Friday that the U.S. sought out and respected Moscow’s positions in Syria when it launched its air strikes last week.
Lavrov noted that despite the escalating tensions between Moscow and Washington, the U.S. made sure it didn’t harm any Russian personnel and positions during the strikes against the regime of President Bashar Assad following a suspected chemical attack on the town of Douma.
“We told them where our red lines were, including the geographical red lines,” Lavrov told Russian state television. “The results have shown that they haven’t crossed those lines.” [Continue reading…]
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