Syria

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The U.S., France and the U.K. targeted chemical weapons sites in Syria early Saturday. Since the launch of more than 100 missiles, a war of words has ensued.

cole.house.gov

Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma talks with Scott Simon about the recent U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria.

The coordinated attack on Syria by U.S. and allied military forces illustrates the conflicting impulses behind President Trump's foreign policy. He remains an "America First" isolationist who disdains a role as global policeman. But Trump is also a determined counter-puncher who can be moved to action by grisly pictures he sees on TV.

Russian officials condemned the U.S.-led airstrikes on three sites in Syria early Saturday, calling the attacks "treacherous and insane" and a "clear and present danger to world peace."

The U.S., U.K. and France carried out the strikes in the early morning hours on targets that U.S. officials said were linked to a Syrian government chemical weapons program. The strikes were a response to an alleged chemical weapons attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime on April 7.

Updated at 2:03 a.m. ET Saturday

The U.S., Britain and France carried out airstrikes early Saturday against three sites in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack last week by President Bashar Assad's regime.

Updated at 12:27 p.m. ET

A fact-finding team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is on its way to Syria and will begin working there by Saturday, spokesperson Johan de Wittlaan said Thursday.

As the Trump administration evaluates potential military operations against Syria, the White House has declined to explain why it believes it has the legal authority to conduct them without authorization from Congress.

But the White House does have a secret seven-page memo that may make the case.

Updated at 1:09 p.m. ET

President Trump had a ready retort to a Russian threat to shoot down any U.S. missiles in Syria: "Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' "

Trump tweeted that news early Wednesday and added, "You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

Updated at 4:05 a.m. ET

A punishing series of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Syria last week reportedly killed an unknown number of Russian mercenaries fighting on behalf of the Damascus regime, with some sources saying there were "dozens" of casualties.

The Pentagon says a counterattack aimed at defending U.S. forces in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province a week ago went on for more than three hours and involved B-52 strategic bombers, AC-130 gunships, F-15E attack planes, Apache attack helicopters and Reaper drones.

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