Donald Trump echoes George W. Bush with Syria strike 'Mission Accomplished'


But the Pentagon said the U.S. had "deconfliction" contacts with Russia before and after the strikes, that Syrian air defense systems had been largely ineffective, and there was no indication that Russian systems had been employed.

Trump earlier this month had reluctantly agreed to keep USA troops in Syria for an undetermined period of time to defeat ISIS.

President Donald Trump has defended his use of the phrase "mission accomplished" over the US-led missile strikes on Syrian targets after it was seized on by the media.

McKenzie admitted the strike did not wipe out all of the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capabilities.

Trump tweeted "Mission Accomplished" on Saturday after U.S., French and British warplanes and ships launched more than 100 missiles almost unopposed by Syrian air defenses. A senior official in a regional alliance that backs Damascus told Reuters the sites that were targeted had been evacuated days ago after a warning from Russian Federation. He also noted that while administration officials had notified congressional leaders Friday just before the strike, "they didn't supply the evidence" of chemical use.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the strikes a "one-time shot", although Trump raised the prospect of further strikes if Assad's government used chemical weapons again.

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They agreed to "keep working closely" on the issue, Mrs May's office said in a statement. There were no immediate plans for more attacks, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said.

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Immediately after the attack, hundreds of residents began gathering in the landmark Omayyad square of the Syrian capital. Air Force B-1B strategic bombers, launched stealthy, long-range missiles from outside Syrian airspace, officials said.

Inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were due to visit Douma later on Saturday to inspect the site of the suspected gas attack on April 7. The U.N. Security Council rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the three Western allies. In a US military action a year ago in response to a sarin gas attack, the Pentagon said missiles took out almost 20 per cent of the Syrian air force.

The then-president stood before a massive banner that read "Mission Accomplished", though US troops had actually been deployed in the area just a month before.

While there appears to be no immediate alternative to the so-called Geneva Process that would lead to a political transition in Syria, several senior USA officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, insisted it has failed and it was time to rethink.

"We, of course, know our work in Syria is not done", U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on "Fox News Sunday". And now you know the full story, ' he said. "We know that it is now up to (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad on whether he is going to use chemical weapons again, and should he use it again, the president has made it very clear that the United States is locked and loaded and ready to go", she said. That did not mean military strikes would continue. "It is not to get involved in the Syrian civil war", she added. In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned.

"Is there ANYONE in the White House with an understanding of history?" he asked.

Russian and Iranian military help in the past three years has let Assad crush the rebel threat to topple him.