Syrian state television shows images of a research center in Barzeh, north of Damascus, they say was hit by strikes launched by Western strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime early Saturday.
The strikes targeted the scientific research facility in the Damascus area, as well as a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs and a third location in the same area, the U.S. military said.
The strikes were aimed at “chemical weapons infrastructure” in what the U.S. billed as a warning against Assad employing such weapons in the future — a warning he has been accused of flouting in the past.
They targeted a scientific research facility in the Damascus area, a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs and a third location that contained both a command post and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility in the same area, the US military said.
U.S. General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there were no plans for further operations and indicated they took pains to avoid hitting any military assets of Russia, which supports Assad’s regime.
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) April 14, 2018
An AFP correspondent in Damascus heard a series of huge blasts at 4:00 am (0100 GMT). For around 45 minutes, explosions echoed and the sound of warplanes roared over the city.
As dawn broke, plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the city’s north and east.
British jets struck “a former missile base… where the regime is assessed to keep chemical weapon precursors,” the country’s defence ministry said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said that the “scientific research centers” and “several military bases” hit in the strikes had been “completely evacuated.”
Syrian state news agency SANA reported several missiles hit a research center in Barzeh, north of Damascus, “destroying a building that included scientific labs and a training center.”
Story compiled with information from AFP,The Associated Press, and CGTN.