Warplanes struck a northern Syrian town Saturday where a chemical attack killed scores of people earlier this week, killing one person and wounding another as Turkey described the US missile attack on an air base as a "cosmetic intervention" unless it removes President Bashar Assad from power.
These were not deployed in the U.S. strike, but if used, such air defenses would radically alter Syria's aerial battlespace, where USA planes have largely flown with little fear of getting shot down.
Sen. Chris MurphyChris MurphyDem senator: Trump's Syria policy "immoral and hypocritical" Senators say White House hasn't laid out Syria strategy Conn. GOP looks to former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson for Senate bid: report MORE (D-Conn.) on Saturday ripped into President Trump's decision to order a missile launch on a Syrian air base, calling his approach to Syria "immoral and hypocritical".
Residents of the Syrian town devastated by a chemical weapons attack last week said warplanes had returned to bomb them at the weekend, despite a U.S. missile barrage and warnings of possible further response.
Elsewhere in the region, a leading Iraqi Shiite cleric and militia leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, called on Assad to step down and "save Syria before it's too late". "Not even two decades after 9/11, United States military fighting on same side as al-Qaida & ISIS in Yemen & Syria".
The US-led coalition fighting IS has gone to great lengths to distance itself from the Syrian civil war and left the Russians to their own devices as they pounded rebel areas including east Aleppo.
In the space of just one week, the Trump administration has gone from floating tolerance to Assad staying in power to striking the airbase.
"The strategic focus has been on ISIS, and it will likely remain to be the same, unless blowback from the airstrikes draw in the U.S. further, or Assad repeats other actions that will trigger more USA intervention".
"As a theoretical matter, a targeted military strike in response to a major violation of non-conventional weapons norms is justifiable", Murphy wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed.
The missile bombardment of the airfield targeted only hangars, planes and logistics structures, not the runways, and contrary to demands of hawkish United States lawmakers was not meant to ground Assad's air force.
Cavusoglu, whose country is a strong backer of the Syrian opposition, said the most ideal process will be a political solution that leads to a transitional government accepted by all Syrians as soon as possible.
Yet within a few days of that statement, United States forces launched a targeted attack against an airfield used by Russian and Syrian jets to carry out aerial attacks - signalling, for the first time in the conflict, a USA willingness to engage directly with regime forces to degrade their capacity.
"Of course, there is some risk that the Syrian military could choose to attack our forces on the ground, but I think that will be extremely unwise and risky for them to do", she added.
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