The United States, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria's Douma, blamed by the US and its allies on Bashar al Assad's regime in Syria.

A missile above Damascus, Syria, April 14, 2018.
A missile above Damascus, Syria, April 14, 2018. ( Reuters )

The United States, Britain and France launched strikes against the Syrian regime early on Saturday (local time in Syria) in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack on Saturday April 7 on Douma, eastern Ghouta.

A map showing the sites targeted in the US-led air strikes against the Syrian regime, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
A map showing the sites targeted in the US-led air strikes against the Syrian regime, Saturday, April 14, 2018. ( TRTWorld )

Here is a timeline of events as they are unfolding with the latest update at the top

Saturday April 21

1430 GMT:

Syrian opposition fighters begin withdrawing from Qalamoun enclave northeast of Damascus and head to opposition-held regions in northern Syria, in a surrender agreement that marks another victory for Assad regime.

The withdrawal will restore regime control over the eastern Qalamoun enclave, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Damascus.

Opposition fighters and their families are being transported from Qalamoun to Idlib and Jarablus, a opposition-held territory at the border with Turkey.

1300 GMT:

The Russian foreign ministry said that inspectors from the world's chemical arms watchdog arrived in the Syrian town of Douma, where an alleged chemical attack took place earlier this month.

A team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have been in Syria for a week but had not travelled to the city because of security fears.

"According to the information we have, the special OPCW mission arrived on the morning of April 21 in the city of Douma at the sites suspected of having toxic substances," the ministry said in a statement.

"The security of the OPCW has been guaranteed not only by the Syrian side but also by the Russian command in Syria."

Friday April 20

1120 GMT:

A UN-marked vehicle was in the area close to the site of the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria's Douma on Friday under escort from Russian military police, a Reuters witness said.

The arrival of the vehicle comes three days after a UN security team turned back while doing reconnaissance in Douma for the visit of a team of international inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

0620 GMT: 

US-led military strikes on Syrian regime facilities last week removed any moral obligation Russia had to withhold S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems from its ally Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday, RIA state news agency reported.

Thursday April 19

1135 GMT:

A UN convoy has left Damascus' Four Seasons Hotel, where experts from the international chemical weapons watchdog are believed to be staying.

The convoy was believed to be carrying Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons officials.

It was not clear whether the team had headed to Douma for a fact-finding mission that was previously disrupted after assailants opened fire at the team visiting the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack that provoked US-led air strikes on regime installations on April 14.

0430 GMT:

UN security experts have said they were negotiating with Syrian regime and Russian authorities for international chemical inspectors to deploy to the site of an alleged toxic gas attack near Damascus, after a reconnaissance mission came under fire.

The team from the world's chemical arms watchdog has not yet been able to begin its field work in Douma, where dozens were killed in a suspected April 7 gas attack, as Western powers warn that regime leader Bashar al Assad may attempt to remove crucial evidence.

0300 GMT:

US assessments following the US, British and French missile strikes on Syria show they had only a limited impact on regime leader Assad's ability to carry out chemical weapons attacks, four US officials told Reuters.

The conclusion contrasts with the Trump administration's assertion that the strikes on Saturday hit at the heart of Assad's chemical weapons programme, language suggesting that Assad's ability to stage more attacks had been dealt a devastating blow.

Wednesday April 18

1700 GMT:

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that the Syrian regime was responsible for delays in inspectors reaching sites of a suspected chemical weapons attack, a strategy they had used in the past.

"We are very much aware of the delay that the regime imposed on that delegation but we are also very much aware of how they have operated in the past and seal what they have done using chemical weapons," Mattis said before the start of a meeting with his counterpart from Qatar.

1305 GMT:

The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Wednesday it is not clear when a fact-finding mission will be able to travel safely to Douma, Syria, the British ambassador to the organisation said.

Ambassador Peter Wilson told reporters that OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said the departure of a team of inspectors was delayed after an incident in which an advance UN security detail performing reconnaissance in Douma was forced to withdraw after being fired upon.

0810 GMT:

Chemical weapons inspectors had to delay visiting the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Douma on Wednesday after a UN security team reported gunfire at the location a day earlier, sources briefed on the team's deployment told Reuters.

0740 GMT:

A UN convoy was seen leaving Damascus' Four Seasons Hotel, where experts from the international chemical weapons watchdog are staying.

It was not clear whether the convoy was transporting Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) officials since the hotel where the vehicles left from is home to most UN agencies working in Syria.

Tuesday April 17

2330 GMT:

The US has been unable to independently confirm that a team of inspectors has arrived at the site of a suspected chemical attack in Syria’s Douma district, the State Department said Tuesday.

"We are certainly aware that Syrian state media was reporting earlier today that the team has been able to enter Douma. We can't independently confirm that at this time," spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters at a press briefing.

2320 GMT:

Syrian regime's UN envoy Bashar Jaafari said a United Nations security team travelled to the Syrian town of Douma on Tuesday ahead of a planned visit by international chemical weapons experts on Wednesday.

"Today the UN security team entered Douma ... in order to assess the security situation on the ground and if this United Nations security team decided that the situation is sound in Douma then the fact-finding mission will begin its work in Douma tomorrow," Jaafari told the UN Security Council.

2300 GMT:

Syrian state news agency SANA reports that the fact-finding team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) entered Douma town in eastern Ghouta area in Damascus countryside on Tuesday.

1900 GMT:

The State Department said the US believes that the OPCW has not entered the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Douma, and claims the US has information that both chlorine and sarin nerve gas were used in the attack.

1220 GMT:

Responding to the criticism on the joint operation by France, Britain and the United States, French President Emmanuel Macron has vigorously defended his decision to launch air strikes on Syria.

Speaking at the European Parliament on Tuesday Macron said all those "who are outraged each time by images we've seen of children, women who died of a chlorine attack."

He added: "Do we sit back, do we defend (human) rights by saying: rights are for us, principles are for us, and realities are for other? No, no!"

1155 GMT:

French Foreign Ministry says it is essential that Syria gives immediate, full access to Douma site to UN chemical inspectors but adds that it is very likely that proof has disappeared from the site.

0605 GMT:

A false alarm led to Syrian air defence missiles being fired overnight and there was no fresh attack on Syria, a commander in the regional military alliance that backs the Syrian regime told Reuters.

The unidentified commander blamed an "electronic attack" by the US and Israel for the air defence systems coming online.

Syrian state TV reported overnight that anti-aircraft defences had shot down missiles fired at an air base in the Homs area, and a media unit run by the Lebanese group Hezbollah said missiles had also targeted an air base near Damascus.

0205 GMT:

OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu said his nine-strong, all-volunteer team had reached Damascus, but so far "the team has not yet deployed to Douma."

Syrian and Russian officials had warned of "pending security issues to be worked out before any deployment could take place," Uzumcu said.

Monday April 16

2345 GMT:

As the 2018 chairman of the G7, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issues a statement on behalf of the group's leaders condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the regime of Bashar al Assad.

"We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union, are united in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the use of chemical weapons in the April 7 attack in Eastern Ghouta, Syria," the statement reads.

2310 GMT:

Syrian state television claims the regime shot down more missiles late Monday night.

Missiles were allegedly fired at the Syrian regime's Shayrat air base near Homs and an air base in the capital Damascus.

The regime claims the missiles were shot down by air defence systems.

State television did not mention three missiles that were fired at Dumair military airport, northeast of Damascus, that pro-Iranian Hezbollah's media service reported were intercepted by Syrian air defences.

2150 GMT:

US President Donald Trump's administration is walking back an announcement US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley made on Sunday saying the White House was preparing new sactions against Russian firms it links to the Assad regime's chemical weapons program.

In an interview with CBS' Face the Nation, Haley said that the sanctions would be announced on Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"The ambassador got out ahead of things this time," a senior administration official who declined to be named said on Monday. 

The official said Trump was concerned that imposing more sanctions on the heels of the US-led strike against Russian-backed Assad, would interfere with the US president's efforts to negotiate agreements with Russian President Vladimir Putin on combatting Daesh, policing the internet and other issues.

1830 GMT:

Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will travel to the Syrian city of Douma on Wednesday, Russian Defence Ministry official Igor Kirillov said at a news conference in The Hague on Monday.

The United States have accused Russia of blocking international inspectors from reaching the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Douma and said Russians or Syrians may have tampered with evidence on the ground.

1155 GMT:

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has defended the air strikes in Syria that were conducted over the weekend, saying the international community had to uphold the international ban on the use of chemical weapons.

Stoltenberg spoke at a joint news conference with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu after the air strikes by the United States, France and Britain.

1140 GMT:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied allegations made by the US envoy to the global chemical weapons watchdog that Russia may have tampered with the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Douma.

1033 GMT: 

The British delegation to the Organisation for the Prohibition for Chemical weapons said, citing the agency's director general, that inspectors have not yet been granted access to sites in Douma.

0920 GMT:

US envoy to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says Russia may have tampered with the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Douma

0823 GMT:

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) starts emergency talks on Douma attacks.

0800 GMT:

The Russian and French ambassadors to the Netherlands were among those who arrived Monday for emergency talks on Syria called by the global chemical watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The British ambassador, Peter Wilson, was also seen arriving. 

0730 GMT:

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag says Turkey does not take sides with any country on Syria, but to "stand with that which is right."

Monday April 16

----------

Sunday April 15

1550 GMT:

The United States is preparing new sanctions on Russia over its continued support of Syria's Bashar al Assad, says Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations.

In an interview with CBS' Face the Nation, Haley said that the sanctions would be announced on Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"They will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use," Haley said.

1345 GMT:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said any further strikes against Syria would lead to "chaos" in the international order.

Putin made the statement in a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Hasan Rouhani, the Kremlin said.

"Putin stressed that if such actions, carried out in violation of the UN Charter, will continue, this will inevitably lead to the chaos in the international relations", the Kremlin said in the statement following the conversation.

The statement said the two leaders agreed that the air strikes have “seriously damaged” the prospects of a political settlement in Syria.

1334 GMT:

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says Washington will not pull US troops out of Syria until its goals were accomplished.

Speaking on Fox News, Haley listed three aims for the United States: ensuring that chemical weapons are not used in any way that pose a risk to U.S. interests, that Islamic State is defeated and that there is a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing.

It is our goal "to see American troops come home, but we are not going to leave until we know we have accomplished those things," Haley said.

Haley's statement appeared to be at odds with US President and Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump's claim of "Mission Accomplished!" following Saturday's strikes against Syria.

0811 GMT:

Britain will study the “options” with its allies if Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad again uses chemical weapons against his people in Syria, UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson says. 

“There is no proposal on the table at the moment for further attacks because so far thank heavens the Assad regime have not been so foolish as to launch another chemical weapons attack,” he told BBC.

0755 GMT:

Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad meets a group of Russian lawmakers on Sunday and says that the Western missile strikes on his country were an act of aggression, Russian news agencies report.

Russian lawmakers met with Assad after the United States, France and Britain launched missile strikes on Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack a week ago. 

Russian news agencies quoted the lawmakers as saying Assad was in a “good mood” and had praised the Soviet-era air defence systems used by Syria to help to repel the Western attacks.

0142 GMT:

The United States, France and Britain launch a new bid at the UN Security Council to investigate chemical weapons attacks in Syria. 

The three allies circulated a joint draft resolution that also calls for unimpeded deliveries of humanitarian aid in Syria and demands that Syria engage in UN-led peace talks, according to the text of the resolution.

Sunday April 15

----------

Saturday April 14

1925 GMT:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks on the phone to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin about Syria, agreeing to work to reduce tension and continue efforts for a political solution, the Turkish presidency said.

Erdogan and Putin agreed to "maintain decisiveness to reduce tension on the ground in Syria and continue efforts for apolitical solution," Ankara said in a statement.

1830 GMT:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks over the phone on with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, according to a presidential source.     

The two leaders discussed the US-led airstrikes against Bashar al Assad regime in Syria as well as bilateral and regional issues.

Erdogan highlighted the importance of working together with France to resolve Syrian crisis and importance of not escalating tensions in Syria.     

The French president shared information with Erdogan about the latest airstrikes on Syrian regime.     

Erdogan underlined that Assad regime''s attacks with both chemical and conventional weapons should end.

He stressed that the political solution is necessary to bring peace in the country.

1730 GMT:

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

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

Macron said, "the operation against the chemical capabilities of the Syrian regime has achieved its objectives."

Macron also "praised the excellent coordination of French forces with those of British and American allies" during the military strikes.

1725 GMT:

The UN Security Council 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 favour of the resolution at the end of an emergency meeting of the 15-member council called by Russia.

Eight countries voted against and three abstained.

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

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

1708 GMT:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couples praise for US-led strikes on Syrian targets with a warning that Iran's presence there further endangers Syria.

"A year ago I gave Israel's total support for US President Donald Trump's decision to mobilise against the use of chemical weapons," he said in a written statement, referring to American strikes against the Syrian regime in April 2017 after a sarin gas attack on a rebel-held town.

"Israel's support remains unchanged," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu said Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad must understand that "his provision of a forward base for Iran and its proxies endangers Syria."

1607 GMT:

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says all 29 of the members in the alliance back the airstrikes on Syria as a consequence of the Assad regime conducting a suspected chemical attack against its civilians last weekend.

Stoltenberg said the strikes early on Saturday by the US, 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 regime leader forces to launch chemical attacks again soon.

1530 GMT:

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tells the UN Security Council the United States is "locked and loaded" to strike again if Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad again uses chemical weapons.

"We are confident that we have crippled Syria's chemical weapons program. We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will," she said.

"If the Syrian regime uses this poison gas again, the United States is locked and loaded," Haley said.

1518 GMT:

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzya says the UNSC should vote later on Saturday on a Moscow-drafted resolution condemning the "aggression" and demanding that the US and its allies refrain from any further strikes.

Nebenzya also said that the US-led attack was an "act of aggression" against a sovereign state.

15:15 GMT:

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urges all states "to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate matters and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people."

He said international investigators were in Syria and ready to visit the site of a suspected deadly chemical weapons attack in Douma, which prompted military action by the US, the UK and France.

1511 GMT:

The UN Security Council opens a meeting at Russia's request to discuss military strikes carried out by the US and its allies on Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack.

Russia circulated a draft resolution calling for condemnation of the military action, but Britain's ambassador said the strikes were "both right and legal" to alleviate humanitarian suffering in Syria.

1505 GMT:

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says Germany will join with France to push for a new international effort to achieve a lasting ceasefire in Syria.

Germany, France, Britain and the United States would meet in London on Sunday to discuss next steps after Saturday's air strikes against the Syrian regime, Maas said.

He said that the initiative was also being discussed by the NATO council.

"We will work together with France for the creation of an international format of influential states that can provide new momentum for the political process," Maas said, adding that Germany would use its bilateral ties with Russia to ensure Moscow adopted a "constructive" stance on the issue.

1433 GMT:

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors arrive in the Syrian capital to investigate the alleged gas attack on Douma, eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus.

The Syrian regime invited the OPCW to investigate the alleged attack on Douma, following claims by the US and several of its allies that Bashar al Assad's forces used gas against rebels and civilians on April 7.

The alleged attacks were the pretext for Saturday's US-led strikes on Assad's chemical weapons program.

1430 GMT:

Russia proposes a draft UN Security Council resolution that condemns "the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the US and its allies in violation of international law and the UN Charter."

It was not immediately clear when it would be put to a vote, but a UNSC session called by Syria was scheduled to start in New York at 1500 GMT.

Diplomats said the draft resolution was unlikely to get the minimum nine votes needed to force a veto by the United States, France or Britain.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour by any of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to pass.

1411 GMT:

Addressing a meeting of the Russian Foreign and Defence Council in Moscow, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said actions of Western countries in Syria unacceptable and lawless.

1320 GMT:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes the US-led strikes against the chemical weapons program of Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad as "appropriate" retaliation for "inhumane" attacks carried out by Damascus.

"We consider this operation as appropriate," Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party in Istanbul.

"The regime has seen that its mounting attacks in recent days against dissidents ... will not go unanswered."

1320 GMT: 

The Pentagon says none of the missiles fired by the US and its allies were downed by Syrian air defences, rebutting claims by the Russian government and Syrian regime.

"None of our aircraft or missiles involved in this operation were successfully engaged by Syrian air defences," Lt. General Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon said. He added that there was no indication that Russian air defence systems in Syria were deployed against the attack.

The Russian military had previously said Syria's Soviet-made air defence systems downed 71 of 103 cruise missiles launched early Saturday by the United States and its allies.

McKenzie said 105 missiles were launched against three targets in Syria.

Characterising the strikes as a success, McKenzie said, "As of right now, we're not aware of any civilian casualties."

1315 GMT:

The Pentagon says the US-led airstrikes on Syria "successfully hit every target."

Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Saturday that the strikes were launched to "cripple Syria's ability to use chemical weapons in the future."

The US, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria on Friday night to punish President Bashar Assad for an apparent chemical attack against civilians last week and to deter him from doing it again.

White says the strikes do not "represent a change in US policy or an attempt to depose the Syrian regime." But she says, "We cannot allow such grievous violations of international law."

She also called on Russia to "honor its commitment" to ensure the Assad regime gives up chemical weapons.

1230 GMT: 

US President Donald Trump has praised the pre-dawn strikes against Syria's regime carried out jointly by the US, Britain and France, saying they "could not have had a better result."

Western officials said a barrage of cruise and air-to-land missiles hit what they said were sites linked to the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program.

1200 GMT: 

Moscow is in touch with the United States and other countries that took part in missile strikes on Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday, RIA news agency is reporting.

Ryabkov also said in an interview with the Kommersant daily on Saturday that Moscow was interested in cooperation with Washington over Syria.

1110 GMT: 

A global chemical warfare watchdog group says its fact-finding mission to Syria will go ahead even after the US-led air strikes.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement that its team will stick to its plan to investigate the suspected poison gas attack in Douma, eastern Ghouta, on April 7.

The group said the mission "will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma."

Russia and Syria have dismissed allegations that the Assad regime used gas against rebels and civilians in the attack last Saturday.

1105 GMT:

Iranian officials have made calls to Syrian leaders in the wake of the US-led airstrikes against Syrian targets.

Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani told Assad that the US goal was to justify its continued presence in the region, according to Syrian regime and Iranian state news agencies.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also spoken with his Syrian counterpart. Zarif said the US is using allegations of chemical weapons to justify attacking Syria before inspectors from the OPCW can begin their work in Douma.

0950 GMT: 

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency says Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls the US-led air strikes on Syria a "military crime."

Khamenei was speaking at a meeting with Iranian officials and ambassadors from several Islamic countries.

Khamenei called the US, British and French leaders who ordered the attacks, "criminals," IRNA reported.

0945 GMT: 

NATO representatives are planning a special session on Saturday to hear from US, British and French officials about the military strike against Syria.

NATO's secretary-general expressed strong support for the coordinated military action aimed at the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program.

Jens Stoltenberg said the missile strikes would erode the Assad regime's "ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons."

0940 GMT: 

The leader of Britain's largest opposition party indicates Prime Minister Theresa May could face a backlash in Parliament for her decision to join the United States and France in launching air strikes against Syria.

The Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn said the allies' bombing was "legally questionable" and risked further escalating "an already devastating conflict."

Corbyn said, "May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump." The Labour Party leader said the UK should be leading the response and "not taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm's way."

Corbyn said the strikes will make assigning blame for the use of chemical weapons in Syria "less, not more likely."

May is scheduled to address Parliament on Monday, when she will explain her reasons for joining the US-led strikes.

0930 GMT:

Syrian state TV broadcasts images of the destruction at a scientific research centre near the capital of Damascus that was targeted in the air strikes.

The images shown on Al Ikhbariya TV are the first of one of the targets. They show piles of rubble outside a destroyed building and a burned vehicle.

Pentagon officials say the attacks targeted the heart of the Syrian regime's programs to develop and produce chemical weapons.

Syrian military says more than one 100 missiles were fired against a military base in central Homs province and the research centre in Barzeh, near the capital, Damascus.

The Syrian military says the attack on the research centre destroyed an educational centre and laboratories.

0920 GMT: 

France's foreign minister is threatening further missile strikes against Syria if the Syrian government uses chemical weapons again.

France joined the United States and Britain in a joint operation that has destroyed what Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says is a "good part" of the Syrian regime's chemical weapons arsenal.

He says France has "no doubt" that the Assad government was behind a suspected chemical attack on Saturday (April 7) against rebels and civilians in Douma, eastern Ghouta. 

Le Drian told BFM television that the goal for the allied mission "was attained" but that if France's "red line is crossed again" there could be another attack.

0855 GMT:

British Prime Minister Theresa May says the need to act quickly and protect what she calls "operational security" led her to decide to join the allied strikes in Syria without a prior vote in the UK Parliament.

May said she will address Parliament on Monday and explain her actions.

A spirited debate is expected, as May has come under criticism from some British lawmakers for not informing Parliament of her intentions ahead of the attack.

0845 GMT:

The European Union Commission's president says those who rely on chemical warfare must be held to account by the world.

Jean-Claude Juncker said the suspected use of poison gas last week in the Syrian city of Douma was as he puts it  a "heinous chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime."

Juncker says the world "has the responsibility to identify and hold accountable those responsible" for such attacks.

0840 GMT:

Germany's chancellor says the allied strikes in Syria were a "necessary and appropriate" response to what the US and its allies say was a recent chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma.

Angela Merkel said the US, Britain and France "took responsibility in this way as permanent members of the UN Security Council."

Merkel said the strikes were needed "to maintain the effectiveness of the international rejection of chemical weapons use and to warn the Syrian regime against further violations."

Merkel had said earlier this week that Germany would not join military action against the Assad regime or its assets in Syria.

0835 GMT: 

British Prime Minister Theresa May says it was "right and legal" to order cruise missile strikes against the Syrian regime after the alleged chemical attack in Douma.

May said the aim was to deter the Assad regime from further use of chemical weapons and to send a message to the wider world that it was unacceptable to use such weapons

The prime minister said reports indicated the regime used a barrel bomb to deliver the chemicals used in the attack on Douma.

Barrel bombs are large containers that are packed with fuel, explosives and scraps of metal.

May says the accounts about the use of a barrel bomb are in line with reports that a regime helicopter was seen flying above Douma ahead of last weekend's attack.

She says "no other group" could have carried out that attack.

0830 GMT:

France's government says it has no samples of the chemical weapons it believes were used in Syria, but launched a military response based on open-source information and intelligence gathering.

France released its assessment on Saturday (April 14) of what happened in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. The government said it was on this basis that France joined the military operation targeting Assad's chemical weapons facilities.

The French assessment cited "the absence to date of chemical samples analysed by our own laboratories." It says the government evaluated publicly available information from non-governmental organizations and other sources as well as unspecified French intelligence.

It concluded there is "no plausible scenario other than that of an attack by Syrian armed forces." 

The assessment noted eight chlorine attacks before the "major attack" on Douma and 44 allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria over the past year.

0820 GMT:

The Russian military says Syria's Soviet-made air defence systems downed 71 out of 103 cruise missiles launched by the United States and its allies.

Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military's General Staff said Saturday's strike did not cause any casualties and Syrian military facilities targeted by the US, Britain and France suffered only minor damage.

He said Russian air defence assets in Syria monitored the strikes but did not engage any of the missiles.

Rudskoi said the Syrian military used Soviet-made air defence missile systems with high efficiency, shooting down all of the missiles aimed at four key Syrian air bases.

He noted that Russia in the past refrained from providing Syria with its state-of-the-art S-300 air defence missile systems on Western prodding, but would now reconsider this.

0800 GMT:

Russian President Vladimir Putin denounces the strikes on Syria launched by the United States and its allies as an "act of aggression" that will exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.

In a statement issued by the Kremlin, the Russian leader said Moscow was calling an emergency meeting of the United Nations' Security Council over the attack.

Putin added that the strike had a "destructive influence on the entire system of international relations."

He reaffirmed Russia's view that a purported chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma that prompted the strike was a fake.

Putin added that Russian military experts who inspected Douma found no trace of the attack.

He criticised the US and its allies for launching the strike without waiting for inspectors from the international chemical weapons watchdog to visit the area.

0735 GMT:

Turkey says they were informed ahead of US, British and French strikes on Syria, ruling AK Party spokesman Mahir Unal said in a televised interview on CNN Turk.

Earlier on Saturday, a Turkish foreign ministry source described the air strikes against the Syrian government as an "appropriate" response.

0720 GMT:

Israel says in response to the American-led strike in Syria that the "murderous actions" of the Assad regime were to blame.

An Israeli official, speaking anonymously according to protocol, said in a statement on Saturday that US President Donald Trump made clear last year that the use of chemical weapons was a red line not to be crossed.

"Syria continues to carry out murderous actions and be a base for these actions and others, including Iran's, that put its territory, forces and leadership in peril," the official said.

0715 GMT:

Syrians in Damascus crowd onto streets in noisy support of regime leader Bashar al Assad, following Saturday's strikes.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says there are no reports of US losses in what he described as a heavy but carefully limited assault.

0648 GMT: 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says his government "understands" the military action of the three NATO allies in Syria because "the use of chemical weapons is a serious crime the international community cannot accept."

0638 GMT: 

Syrian regime's military says the US, Britain and France fired 110 missiles during a joint attack on targets in Damascus and other sites.

 "Our air defences effectively shot down most of them" Syrian regime Brigadier General Ali Mayhoub said on regime TV.

Mayhoub said one of the missiles hit the Scientific Research Center in Barzeh near Damascus, damaging a building. He added that three people were injured by missile debris in Homs.

Mayhoub said the attacks "will not deter" the regime's military and its allies from their ongoing war to eradicate "armed terrorists" from Syrian territory.

0635 GMT:

NATO issues a strong statement of support for its three allies following the missile strike.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance "considers the use of chemical weapons unacceptable."

Stoltenberg said that the strike "will reduce the regime's ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons."

He added that "those responsible must be held accountable."

0615 GMT: 

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says he is closely watching reports related to the airstrikes on Syria conducted by the US, France and Britain.

"Any use of chemical weapons is abhorrent. The suffering it causes is horrendous," Guterres said. He urged UN member states to show restraint and avoid any acts that could escalate the situation.

0610 GMT: 

A top Russian lawmaker says Moscow's response to Western air strikes on Syria must be carefully considered.

"Emotion is not what's needed now, but professional assessment by military specialists working on the scene," Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of parliament, said, according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.

However, Kosachev said, the attack's meaning was clear: "It's a scandalous violation of international law and this is an attack on a sovereign state without an underlying basis."

0605 GMT:

Iranian state TV reports that the country's Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the US-led air strikes on Syria.

The ministry warned of regional and trans-regional effects and consequences over the attack.

It said the strikes were a flagrant violation of international rules and regulations and ignores Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

0600 GMT:

Russia says the Syrian regime shot down a significant number of the missiles launched in a Western air strikes, using Soviet-designed air-defence systems.

0535 GMT: 

France's defence minister says its joint military operation with the US and Britain against Syria targeted three sites and that Russia was informed ahead of time.

Defence Minister Florence Parly said the French military sent fighter jets from multiple bases in France and used missile-equipped frigates in the Mediterranean in the operation.

She said strikes targeted the "main research centre" for the Syrian chemical weapons program and "two important production sites."

5:10 GMT:

Hundreds of Syrians are demonstrating in a landmark square of the Syrian capital, waving victory signs and honking their car horns in a show of defiance.

The demonstrations broke out early Saturday following a wave of US, British and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for suspected chemical attack against civilians. The Syrian government has denied the accusations.

0505 GMT: 

The British Defence Ministry says four of its Tornado GR4 warplanes fired missiles at a military facility as part of the tripartite attack on Syria.

The ministry said the missiles were fired around 24 kilometres (15 miles) west of Homs, where it was assessed the Syrian regime keeps agents used to make chemical weapons.

It said the facility is located "some distance from any known concentration" of civilian residential areas.

The ministry said a detailed analysis of how effective the strike was is continuing, but initial indications show a successful attack.

0500 GMT: 

Russia's Defence Ministry said none of the missiles launched in a Western attack on Syria entered the zones guarded by Russia's missile defence.

"Not one of the cruise missiles launched by the United States and its partners entered the zone of responsibility for Russian air-defense divisions," the ministry said in a statement.

0420 GMT:

Syrian regime TV says three civilians were wounded in the US-led missile attack on a military base in Homs.

It says the attack was defused but three people were wounded in the operation.

It says another attack with "a number of missiles" targeting a scientific research centre destroyed a building and caused other material damage but no human losses. 

The network said the building in the research centre included an educational centre and laboratories.

0405 GMT: 

A senior Syrian opposition leader says the international community will have to bear the responsibility for "any revengeful escalation" from the Syrian regime or its allies following joint air strikes from the US, Britain and France.

Nasr al-Hariri, who heads the committee that represents the opposition in the UN talks with Damascus, said Syrians need international understanding and a strategy that leads to a political solution to "save it from the brutality of the Syrian regime."

0355 GMT: 

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounces the United States and its allies for launching air strikes on Syria.

She said the attacks hit a long-troubled country "that for many years has been trying to survive terrorist aggression."

0250 GMT: 

Syrian regime TV reports that the attack on Syria targeted a scientific research centre in Barzeh, near Damascus.

The report said Syria's air defences were activated against missiles near Homs, and said the air strikes also targeted an army depot there.

0235 GMT: 

Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the Russian State Duma's defence committee, says Trump "can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time, because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union."

0220 GMT: 

The British defence ministry says "initial indications" show that the air strikes against Syria produced a "successful attack" on a Syrian military facility.

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attack as neither "about intervening in a civil war" nor "about regime change," but a limited and targeted strike that "does not further escalate tensions in the region" and does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.

0210 GMT: 

US Defense Secretary Jim (James) Mattis says military strikes in Syria were "directed at the Syrian regime" and they have "gone to great lengths to avoid civilians and foreign casualties."

Mattis urged "responsible nations" to join in condemning the Assad regime.

0200 GMT: 

US Defense Secretary James Mattis says the US and its allies have taken "decisive action" against Syrian regime chemical weapons infrastructure.

Mattis briefed reporters at the Pentagon Friday (US time) an hour after President Donald Trump announced the strike.

0150 GMT: 

Explosions were heard to the east, west and south of Damascus as the US, UK and France conducted air strikes in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian regime on its own people.

Witnesses saw blasts surrounding much of the Syrian capital and a huge fire could be seen from a distance to the east. Syrian regime TV reported that a scientific research centre had been hit.

French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian makes an official statement with French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly (not pictured) in the press room at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, April 14, 2018.
French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian makes an official statement with French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly (not pictured) in the press room at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, April 14, 2018. ( Reuters )

0140 GMT: 

French President Emmanuel Macron says his nation, the United States and Britain have launched a military operation against the Syrian government's "clandestine chemical arsenal."

Macron said that France's "red line has been crossed" after a suspected chemical attack last week in the Syrian town of Douma.

0125 GMT: 

US President Donald Trump reiterates his call for other nations to take on more of the burden in Syria.

Trump said he has asked US partners "to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing large amounts of money for the resources, equipment and all of the anti-ISIS [anti-Daesh] effort."

0120 GMT: 

Syria's capital is rocked by explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as US President Donald Trump announced air strikes in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons by the regime of Bashar al Assad.

Associated Press reporters in Damascus saw smoke rising from east Damascus early Saturday morning local time. Syrian regime TV said an attack has begun on the capital, though it wasn't immediately clear what was targeted.

0115 GMT: 

US President Donald Trump warns Russia and Iran about their association with Syria's Bashar al Assad and his regime, as the US president announced the launch of retaliatory strikes after an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Douma last week.

0110 GMT: 

US President Donald Trump calls for a "prayer for our noble warriors" as he concluded his remarks announcing strikes on targets associated with the Syrian chemical weapons program.

Trump announced the strikes, in coordination with France and Britain, from the White House Friday night (US eastern time).

0105 GMT: 

US President Donald Trump says he is "prepared to sustain" strikes against Syria until the use of chemical agents stops.

But Trump said the US is not seeking "an indefinite presence" in Syria and will look to pull out its troops once Daesh is totally defeated.

0100 GMT: 

US President Donald Trump says the United States has "launched precision strikes" on targets associated with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons programme.

Trump spoke from the White House Friday night (US eastern time). He said a "combined operation" with France and the United Kingdom was underway.

Trump said that on Saturday, April 7, Syria deployed chemical weapons in what was a "significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies