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Syria options open as Britain says no strikes planned

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Western powers have no plans for further missile strikes on Syria but will assess their options if Damascus uses chemical weapons again,

Britain’s foreign minister said on Sunday as debate raged over the legality and effectiveness of the raids.

U.S., French and British missile attacks struck at the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons program on Saturday in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack a week ago, and the three countries insisted they were not aimed at toppling President Bashar al-Assad or intervening in a seven-year civil war.

The bombings, hailed by U.S. President Donald Trump as a success but denounced by Damascus and its allies as an act of aggression, marked the biggest intervention by Western countries against Assad and his ally Russia, whose foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called them “unacceptable and lawless”.

In Damascus, Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad met inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog OPCW for about three hours in the presence of Russian officers and a senior Syrian security official.

The inspectors were due to try to visit the site of the suspected gas attack. Moscow condemned the Western states for refusing to wait for their findings before attacking.

 

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