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Syrian Air Defense Claims It Shot Down 13 Incoming Missiles During Coalition Air Strike
Syrian air defences claim to have shot down 13 incoming missiles as the U.S., France and Britain launched air strikes near Damascus, Syrian state media said on Saturday, April 14. More than 100 missiles were fired from ships and manned aircraft and the allies struck three of Syria's main chemical weapons facilities. Representatives of coalition forces have said the strikes are in response to a poison gas attack by the Syrian military against civilian targets. Speaking from the White House on Friday, president Donald Trump announced the military action, and said its intention was to degrade Syrian chemical weapons capabilities. "The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic," Trump said in the national address. "We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” he said. Trump said the three allies had “marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality.” British Prime Minister Theresa May described the strike as “limited and targeted.” She said she authorized British forces to join in the strikes after intelligence indicated Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government was responsible for an attack using chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of Douma a week ago. French President Emmanuel Macron said the strikes had been limited so far to Syria’s chemical weapons facilities. The Syrian foreign ministry issued a statement saying that Saturday’s strikes against Syria would not have any impact on the Syrian army's resolve to fight against militants and restore control of the country. ”The barbaric aggression ... will not affect in any way the determination and insistence of the Syrian people and their heroic armed forces," state news agency SANA cited an official source in the ministry as saying. The targets included a Syrian center in the greater Damascus area for the research, development, production, and testing of chemical and biological weaponry as well as a chemical weapons storage facility near the city of Homs. A third target, also near Homs, reportedly contained both a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and a command post. Reuters contributed to this report.