The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea / AP
CAIRO - 14 April 2018: American-led Tomahawk cruise missiles strikes were launched early Saturday against Syrian military targets in the capital Damascus.The strikes were conducted in coordination with the United Kingdom and France.
It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties due to the attack.
The attack came moments after U.S. President Donald Trump said he ordered precision strikes targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons capabilities after a poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people last week.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a scientific research center and military bases in Damascus were struck in the attack.
The military targets included the Syrian army's Republican Guard, Mezzeh military airport and the 4th military division.
"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 a televised address from the White House.
"The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons," Trump said.
In the meantime, British Prime Minister Theresa May said she had authorized British armed forces "to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability."
"This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change," May said in a statement. "It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties."
Also, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had ordered a military intervention in Syria alongside the United States and Britain in an attack on the chemical weapons arsenal of the country's regime.
Macron said the attack would be limited to Syria's chemical weapons facilities.
"We cannot tolerate the recurring use of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and our collective security," a statement from the Elysee presidential office said.
The intervention was the biggest strike by Western powers against Assad in the country’s seven-year-old civil war and pitted the United States and its allies against Russia, which itself intervened in the war in 2015 to back Assad.
The attack brought to mind the 2017 Shayrat missile strike that took place in April 2017, and involved the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles by the United States from the Mediterranean Sea into Syria, aimed at the Shayrat Airbase controlled by the Syrian government. The strike came as a direct response to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack that occurred days before the missile strike.