Five things to know about the US-led strikes in Syria

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The United States and allies have responded to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons against the rebel-held town of Douma with missile strikes. US President Donald Trump announced he ordered airstrikes in Syria “on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities”, in collaboration with the UK and France.

The strikes mark the second time Trump ordered attacks against Syria to punish Assad’s government. Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, pledged to retaliate for what it described as a “fabricated” chemical gas attack.

The US and its allies launched more than 100 missiles on Syria in a “one-time shot”, according to the Pentagon. US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Marine General Joseph Dunford said chemical weapons facilities were targeted by missiles fired from the sea and from aircraft. The Pentagon could not confirm how many missiles hit their targets.

What type of missiles were fired?

The US used Tomahawk cruise missiles in its strikes in Syria, which were fired at multiple targets in the country, a US official said.

Tomahawk missiles were used in previous US attacks in Syria last year in response to the use of chemical weapons in the rebel-held Khan Sheikhoun town of Idlib province.

“According to unofficial sources, the US deployed several [carrier groups] with cruise missiles in the Mediterranean and Red seas,” said Fuad Shahbazov, a security and military expert based in Azerbaijan. Britain’s defence ministry said four British Tornado jets fired Storm Shadow missiles at a Syrian base 24km west of Homs.  Florence Parly, France’s defence minister, said France provided warships in the Mediterranean Sea and sent in fighter jets stationed at airbases in France.  Reuters news agency, citing a French presidency source, said French Mirage and Rafale fighter jets were involved in the strikes on Syria, along with four frigate warships.

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