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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 14, 2018 7:00pm-7:31pm BST

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welcome to bbc news. i am live from beirut with our continuing special coverage. president donald trump has hailed the military operations against syria as a success hailing mission accomplished. three chemical sites were targeted with 100 missiles. today in an emergency meeting of the un security council the united states says it was prepared to strike again if necessary. i spoke to the president this morning and he said if they use these weapons against the us is locked and loaded. russia has campaigned this —— content the strikes as blatant disregard for international law. the political solution has been called for. international law. the political solution has been called forli international law. the political
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solution has been called for. i urge them to avoid anything that could escalate matters and worsen the softening —— suffering of the syrian people. president tusk third condemned what he saw as aggression and said it makes him more determined to fight against his opponents. welcome to beirut and to our continuing special coverage of the overnight military operations carried out by the united states, britain and france against syria. today the united states described the operation as overwhelming, precise and effective. the un security council has been meeting an emergency session today to discuss the aftermath of this unprecedented show of force. britain, france and
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the united kingdom say they struck three chemical science with more than 100 missiles. the pentagon says that the target was a scientific research laboratoryjust outside damascus as well as two near the central syrian city of holmes. today at the united states nations in the united states said it was ready to strike again if necessary but from russia there was harsh condemnation for it condemned as an act of aggression. for ourfirst for it condemned as an act of aggression. for our first report tonight we have this from our north american correspondentjohn sobol. from a french warship in the eastern mediterranean... toa to a british raf base in cyprus. in cyprus to the uss monterey in the red sea, days of planning was replaced by execution, with the bombing and missile strikes.
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the president said britain, france and the us had marshalled their "righteous power against barbarism and brutality." 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. and he singled out syria's two principal backers. to iran and to russia, i ask, what kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children? the nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. in damascus last night, flashes, bangs and streaking missiles lit the night sky. those launching the attack seemed as keen to define what this mission wasn't as what it was. this is not about intervening in the civil war. it is not about regime change.
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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. daylight reveals the extent of the destruction. this is all that's left of the scientific research centre near damascus, one of the targets that took the greatest pounding. at a pentagon briefing this morning, the defence chief said all targets had been hit with no casualties suffered. we are still conducting a more detailed damage assessment, the initial indications are that we accomplished our military objectives without interference from syria. i use three words to describe this operation, precise, overwhelming and effective. but in damascus this morning, regime supporters were celebrating a success in repelling american aggression. perhaps more accurately, this strike was more limited than they'd anticipated.
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from a government spokesman, defiance. translation: this aggression will only increase our determination to defend our sovereignty, national security and the security of our citizens. this apparently is president assad strolling to work today, although we don't see a close—up of his face. if he is able to walk tall, it's only because of the support he is receiving from the russians. today at the un they turned theirfire on britain, france and the us. translation: the us and its allies continued to demonstrate blatant disregard for international law. they must be especially firm in protecting the un charter. in douma, the site of the chemical weapons attack, the syrian army are in control and awaiting the weapons inspectors. the americans are saying it'sjob done. but now the world waits to see if there will be retaliation
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or any further use of chemical weapons, because if there is then this will be far from over. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. this is the big question now. what happens next? we will go to our correspondent in moscow and washington but first a reminder of the us ambassador to the united nations nikki haley said when she warned that the united states was prepared to strike again if necessary. with yesterday's military action our message was crystal clear. the united states of america will not allow the assad regime to continue to use chemical weapons. last night we obliterated the major research facility that it used to assemble weapons of mass murder. i spoke to the president this morning and he said the syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again the united states is locked and loaded. when
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oui’ states is locked and loaded. when our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line. and there was a strong reply from syria's ambassador to the united nations. the syrian arab republic bromley condemns this tripartite attack which once again shows indisputably that they pay no attention to international law even though they say they do repeatedly. these countries have shown their conviction for the law of the jungle and the law of the strongest. so what is the mood in washington? let's bring in our state department correspondent. how do you read both the warnings coming out of some us officials but all that sense of these president trump's words
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mission accomplished. in washington in the foreign policy establishment and on capitol hill to a large degree although not to believe there isa degree although not to believe there is a sense that it was the right thing to do to carry out these limited strikes against chemical weapons related targets in order to draw a line about not normalising the michael weapons use, in other words defending the chemical weapons convention and taking a stand specially because it was done together with allies and in a very targeted way but it does open up a lot of other things, for example that have been criticisms on capitol hill especially amongst democrats but not only that president trump acted with that organisation from congressmen that he should have done. there is also more widely a sense of president trump is taking the strike only very limited issue without verifying what his broader strategy is in syria so on the one hand he has said recently he would
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like to withdraw the small contingent of forces in the country, about 2000, as quickly as he can against the advice of his pentagon it should be said but at the same time he is talking about a sustained campaign to prevent bashar al—assad from using chemical weapons again and all of this leaves people wandering what if any influence at all will the americans have on the outcome of the political solution to this work and also the spreading influence in iran which they are worried about in syria, so this event has been an occasion for people to come up with long—term criticisms about how this administration is handling its syria policy. yes, because has president trump again painted himself into a corner with his tweets, the fact he is describing president assad as a monster who has kept in position by his russian and iranian allies, does
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this give more oxygen to his critics who say do something about it? well, imean, i who say do something about it? well, i mean, i think it is more that he has basically said that he wants to leave but at the same time has left the door open to greater involvement by saying that this will continue if president assad does carry out more chemical weapon attacks then there will be another response, although they will try and keep it as targeted as possible because especially the pentagon does not wa nt especially the pentagon does not want this to escalate beyond into a conflict with mr assad's supporters and also president trump's base is non—interventionist, doesn't want the us to be interfering in wars, once the us to be focusing on domestic issues and although president trump did paint this as a limited strike and talked about the footprint, america having read the small footprint in syria and wanting to get them at as in this battle but
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there have been criticism from some of his base that this was already too far. let's cross to moscow to join our correspondent steve rosenberg. as you know well a lot of angry statements coming from moscow to date but is it also mixed with some relief that the strikes were more limited than they could have been? i think so. more limited than they could have been? ithink so. it is more limited than they could have been? i think so. it is quite interesting. moscow is the biggest backer of president assad so it is not surprising that the language coming out of moscow was pretty hard and on, rising so we heard vladimir putin talking about maximum aggression having been committed, we heard foreign minister sergei lavrov saying that this was unlawful and unacceptable. we had a russian senators saying america was behaving like a bully at school. the language was very like a bully at school. the language was very tough. a lot of rhetoric
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but what there wasn't a chorus was a military response from russia, there wasn't a retaliation and in fact the russians went out of their way to make it clear that russian air defence systems in syria had not been used to target incoming missiles. it is clear that russia does not want to go to war with america over syria. but we were hearing about donald trump's red lines. russians have read lines also. moscow had made it clear to washington that if the lives of russian service men in syria were put in danger, then the russians would target us missiles and even launch sites so that is a very clear red line the russians have laid down for now and the future. and you will remember that after the chemical attack in 2013 just outside damascus
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russia and the united states worked together to take all of the declared chemical weapons out of syria. is it possible that moscow and washington will again work together on some other issues? there is a lot of talk now about putting forward on some kind of political solution or peace negotiations. —— at least negotiations. —— at least negotiations. interesting, it feels as if the gulf between russia and washington is so wide now, not only on syria but so many other issues, and yet we know that donald trump has said he wants to get along with russia. and what i find really interesting is that despite the current tension between russia and the united states there isn't much direct criticism or personal criticism of donald trump in the state media here. perhaps that gives some hope that they could find a common language, perhaps we could
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move forward with some kind of cooperation. 0n syria and perhaps in other areas too. good to hear a little bit of hope coming out of you in moscow. so, what is the strategy now? britain, the united states and france. all of the emphasis today on this was a limited action that was to send a very clear message as they put president assad regarding the use of chemical weapons. and the hope that these strikes. their use in future. but what exactly is the strategy? 0ur diplomatic correspondent james robbins takes strategy? 0ur diplomatic correspondentjames robbins takes a look. this is what provoked the strikes, last saturday's apparent gas attack on civilians in douma. britain, france and the united states are convinced this was the latest in a long line of assad's chemical attacks and had to be punished. so what was achieved? the strikes sent a deliberate, precise, if limited message to president assad, "you are not the target — your chemical weapons programme is."
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the united states fired missiles from two warships and from the submarine uss john warner, plus in the air, two b—1 lancer bombers. the raf flew tornadoes from akrotiri in cyprus, staying out of syrian airspace to fire their storm shadow missiles. and france launched missiles from its frigate, languedoc, as well as rafale and mirage strike aircraft flying from france. so, the us was not acting alone, but with two close allies this time, and that is politically important. the targets of all this firepower? syria's chemical weapons production. the main target for 76 missiles was a research and development centre close to damascus. but also, a chemical weapons storage site near homs, 22 weapons were aimed there, including the raf‘s eight storm shadow missiles. and target three, a nearby chemical weapons bunker, the main french target for seven of their nine missiles. the military in the shape of the pentagon in washington say they are very pleased with the outcome, both
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political and military. in a powerful show of allied unity, we deployed 105 weapons against three targets. that will significantly impact the syrian's regime ability to develop, deploy and use chemical weapons in the future. it has been said before, but i want to emphasise again, that by comparison, this strike was double the size of the last strike in april 2017, and i would also emphasise that this strike was a multinational effort. but an end to syria's appalling civil war is no closer after this military action. as long as russia continues to dominate with its forces on the ground, fighting to keep president assad in power, it is hard to see an eventual peace which isn't largely dictated by that alliance. james robbins, bbc news. the description out of the pentagon was that these military operations we re
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was that these military operations were precise, overwhelming and effective. what more do we know about the petition saying? we can joinjordan about the petition saying? we can join jordan peele at about the petition saying? we can joinjordan peele at the raf base in cyprus where the british jets took off. jonathan, had they been giving any more details today about their side of the operations overnight? yes, you know that this is the base in cyprus from where british aeroplanes have been carrying out strikes against so—called islamic state for the last three years so they are well practised. this operation though did have added dangers because syria has air defence systems. it is backed by russia's military also. what we have learnt tonight is as well as those four tornado jets that carried the storm shadow cruise missiles each carrying a pair of those missiles they were accompanied by four typhoon jets which they were accompanied by four typhoonjets which are they were accompanied by four typhoon jets which are armed with airto air missiles typhoon jets which are armed with air to air missilesjust typhoon jets which are armed with air to air missiles just as typhoon jets which are armed with air to air missilesjust as a precaution. in the end they were needed because those tornado jets,
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the older tornadojets, needed because those tornado jets, the older tornado jets, fired those storm shadow missiles well outside syrian airspace. they have a range of about 300 miles. the target with the british of eight missiles was an old missile base west of homs that was the british being used to store —— debate is believed it was storing the precursors, ingredients for syria's chemical weapons programme, the defence secretary gavin williamson says the strikes were highly successful. 0f williamson says the strikes were highly successful. of course they had to carry out proper battle the balance assessment using satellite imagery over the next 2a hours to make theirfinal imagery over the next 2a hours to make their final assessment but they believe all those eight missiles hit the target. britain did contribute the target. britain did contribute the least missiles, the fewest missiles fired, fewer than france, fewer than the united states, but the importance as far as the defence
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secretary was concerned was to take pa rt secretary was concerned was to take part in this military action to show solidarity with allies and to send a very clear solidarity with allies and to send a very clear message solidarity with allies and to send a very clear message to president assad and a warning to him about using chemical weapons. and as a lwa ys using chemical weapons. and as always in these we are getting contradictory reports, we heard from the pentagon but the syrian air defences simply didn't work on time, that the russians were not operating, whereas from damascus they talked about the success of theirair they talked about the success of their air defence. it is interesting that you mention her there was a concern on the better side that those defences would work. i am not sure whether they did or not, what they are saying? the line from the pentagon is very clear. they believe the air defence systems, yes, they we re the air defence systems, yes, they were fired, but they did not down any of the missiles that were fired by this coalition of france, the us and britain. and one thing else to say about britain's contribution,
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there is a political difficulty for theresa may because she has an opposition that is questioning the legality of this military actions. some have been calling for a vote in parliament before she was allowed to authorise this military action so she had to tread carefully and that may explain in part why the british contribution was less than france's martinelli and those of the us's which of course is the biggest military power. but britain believed that they should be part of this military option. they believe that they have degraded president assad's chemical weapons programme and to be honest if the syrians say they did actually down these missiles they have got to show the proof. thank you forjoining us. in damascus today there were scenes of celebration. people took to the streets to dance and to hail the defiance of the syrian people and
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president assad. so what is the mood like in the syrian capital today? 0r collea g u es like in the syrian capital today? 0r colleagues at cbs sent this report from damascus. we were driving around but we were unable to get in because of checkpoints. we have seen images inside of the devastation. the building appears to be com pletely the building appears to be completely destroyed and pictures we re completely destroyed and pictures were released on syrian television earlier this morning. unbelievably neighbours relatively unfazed. people opening windows so they wouldn't burst, but watching this kind of display in the sky as we watched. it was interesting to me listening to president trump speak in one earand listening to president trump speak in one ear and looking out over this city watching anti—aircraft fire and
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also seeing and hearing those air strikes hit their targets. pictures that were released this morning that we re that were released this morning that were labelled from the syrian presidency that showed president bashar al—assad appearing unfazed walking into a building almost nonchalant, the world that you used. 0bviously trying to portray an image of not being particularly bothered, not being deterred by the strikes. we have also spin from their possession, the syrian rebels, who have reportedly said that the strikes are just a farce as long as president bashar al—assad stays in power. we have also spoken with people on the streets and at the top levels of government one official in the syrian government told me last night syrians have been through so much. they have been fighting over the years and certainly as we know over the last seven plus years in this most recent conflict. this senior official in assad's government said they will be
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fighting until the last drop of blood. defiance on the streets and defiant mood on the streets today. soa defiant mood on the streets today. so a week ago suspected chemical attacks in douma in the outskirts of damascus led to a weaker planning and speculation. the military operations are over and the us secretary of defence general matters will says it will remain as one strike depending on what happens next with the syrian government. in the last few hours we have heard that warning from the us vice president mike pence who is attending the summit of the americas in peru. last night the united states of america conducted a successful military strike on critical chemical weapons infrastructure in syria. that has significantly degraded and crippled the ability of syria to conduct
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chemical weapons attacks and chemical weapons attacks and chemical weapons attacks and chemical weapons programme against innocent civilians. this was the morally right back to take and as i spoke to the president this morning we couldn't be more proud of our american forces and our allies who conducted this attack with such professionalism and brought about an extraordinary success. the president has also made it clear that the united states of america is prepared to sustain this effort, to re—establish the deterrent framework that exists in order that this syrian regime and its patrons know that there will be a price to pay if chemical weapons are used again against innocent men, women and children. that is how it looks at
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this hour. the day after a military operations but carried out by the united kingdom, france and the united kingdom, france and the united states targeting three chemical sites in syria with more than 300 missiles. from western powers today there was a strong sense that that mission was successful but there is strong condemnation from president assad and his allies in particular russia and his allies in particular russia and iran. here in the region there has been condemnation from iran but also from lebanon's president does well. but from the very staunch opponents of president assad like turkey and israel there was double support for these operations which the west said was meant to send a strong message to the syrian president. we will have more continuing coverage but from me and our team continuing coverage but from me and ourteam in beirut continuing coverage but from me and our team in beirut that is all for now. good evening to you. what a spring
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day that was. the sort of spring day i'm sure many others have been waiting for. wherever you looked there was some sunshine to enjoy in varying amounts. a beautiful view here in the scottish highlands. the dorset coast was beautiful but blue skies. a little bit of mist but that cleared away. this is the satellite picture showing that most of us have had largely cloud free skies. a bit more of a struggle for northern ireland and scotland. 0ne more of a struggle for northern ireland and scotland. one to two showers kicking up towards the south of the last hour and a be a few more as we go on through the night. most of us will be dry with clear spells. more quota were second with a better showery rain perhaps here. the main change to the south—west, more cloud and drink and a strengthening breeze. a slightly different day tomorrow. low pressure trying to push into the atlantic. that will strengthen the winds especially in the west and northern ireland. we
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will see more clothes tomorrow. some rain but not all the time. those sporadic bursts of rain across the south—west, wales, northern ireland, midlands, east anglia, northern england and southern scotland by the end of the day. in the south—west mixture of sunny spells and heavy showers but northern and eastern scotla nd showers but northern and eastern scotland sticking into sunshine. inverness could get up to 16. slightly cooler elsewhere than it has been today. monday still frontal systems trying to push in telewest. most dry. some rain in northern ireland and showers across scotland. the best sunshine towards the south. temperatures 12—15. temperatures will start to climb in south—eastern areas on tuesday specially. some sunshine. more cloud for the bus. simmering for scotland and northern
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ireland and other western fringes. a bit cooler with the breeze. from the south—east corner could get up to 19 or20. south—east corner could get up to 19 or 20. that is not where the rising temperatures ends. deeper into the week ahead we have warm air from the no confidence was forget to wednesday and thursday south—eastern areas could get up to 25 and many other spots further north and was not too far behind. after a beautiful spring day to day temperatures will only claim into the next few days. this is bbc news, our latest headlines. the us, britain and france have taken joint action for the first time in syria, bombing three chemical weapons sites with more than 100 missiles. the prime minister defends the use of british force as "legal and right", as four tornadojets were involved in the attacks russia have reacted strongly to the strikes,
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claiming the attacks were a blatant violation of international of international law at a united nations security council meeting. and president assad says it's the aggression that will make syria more determined to keep fighitng and crushing terrorism "in every inch of the country." more on syria now, and the prime minister theresa may says the overnight air raids sent a clear signal that the use of chemical weapons would not be tolerated and she said it had been "right and legal" to take action. but the labour leaderjeremy corbyn has called the strikes ‘legally
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