Syrian air defences responded to the attack by the U.S., France and the U.K. and hit several incoming missiles, state-run Syrian media said. Three civilians were wounded, according to the official SANA news agency.
Naval and air forces from the three countries hit three primary targets, including a chemical weapons research facility outside Damascus and a weapons storage facility near Homs, General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters. The strikes were in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack by Bashar al-Assad’s forces on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.
“The aggression by the arrogant and hegemonic Western regimes was a result of their frustration at the failure of the conspiratorial project against Syria,” the state-run SANA news agency said, citing an unnamed Foreign Ministry official. It called the attack a flagrant violation of international law.
With nationalist music blaring in the background, small groups of residents gathered on the streets in several locations in Damascus, waving the Syrian flag as well as the flags of Iran and Russia, which have supported Assad in the seven-year-old civil war.
Syria’s allies, including Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, strongly condemned the attack but did not threaten any retaliation. Analysts and diplomats said the strikes were unlikely to change the trajectory of the conflict.
“Arrogant Trump wanted to vent to prove he’s a man,” Damascus resident Issam Dahi, who sells car parts, said by telephone. “This will have no impact on a government that has survived a war that lasted more than seven years.”
Syrian forces vacated key military airports and positions in recent days and have been on high alert after U.S. President Donald Trump warned his country would respond to the suspected chemical attack last weekend.
The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian war through activists on the ground, said the strikes had also targeted positions of elite Republican Guard forces.
Sharif Shehadeh, a former Syrian lawmaker, said by telephone from Damascus that the attack was a victory for Syria. “Instead of weakening the government, it only made it stronger,” he said. “Trump did it to save face.”