At 9 a.m. exactly, the Twitter account of the Syrian presidency posted a video of Bashar al-Assad leisurely walking in to work, soft spring light behind him and briefcase in hand.
“Morning of steadfastness,” read the tweet.
Since earlier Saturday, state television showed peaceful scenes in Damascus, home to at least one of the targets of this morning’s airstrikes on Syria. Civilians flashed the victory sign with their hands as they passed the camera.
رئاسة الجمهورية العربية السورية pic.twitter.com/hhIZT6cOTe
— Syrian Presidency (@Presidency_Sy) April 14, 2018
A Syrian army spokesperson appeared saying that “air defence systems effectively blocked the aggressor’s rockets,” shooting most of them down, despite the Pentagon saying that more than 100 rockets hit their targets, in the first coordinated Western military intervention against the Syrian government.
“Three major powers have just wasted millions of dollars and surely days of planning for nothing,” said Rami Nameh, an accountant from his home in the city of Homs. “This attack won’t change anything.”
Last April, the U.S. sent cruise missiles into an airbase in Homs province after a sarin attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed more than 80 people. A few days later, planes were again taking off from the base.
Like others, 21-year-old student Hiba Idriss woke up to the thud of the air defense systems in Damascus early Saturday morning.
“Those 100 plus missiles that were fired against Syria today will have the same effect on our country as last year’s 58 tomahawks had: nothing,” said Idriss from her home in the Mezzeh neighbourhood of the capital.
The U.S. attack on Syria targeted different parts of Damascus on April 14, 2018
“I watched what happened,” said Mohammed of the strikes. He didn’t want to give his last name, fearing reprisal from the government. A medical student, he treated victims of the alleged chemical attack on Douma. “We thought the response would have been bigger.”
The Syrian foreign ministry called the attack a “blatant violation of the international law” and said it was an attempt to derail the investigation into the alleged chemical attack on April 7, which President Donald Trump quickly blamed on the Syrian government. In a statement circulated to local media, the Syrian foreign ministry also downplayed the attack.
Syria, and its ally Russia, have denied the government used chemical weapons in Douma and said the opposition fabricated the attack to stave a government victory in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus.
After an attack on eastern Ghouta in 2013 that killed more than 1,000 people, Assad agreed to give up all his chemical weapons as then U.S. President Barack Obama threatened military actions. But the UN has documented dozens of chemical attacks since then and opposition activists claim the government has carried out hundreds of attacks with chlorine, which isn’t illegal to possess but is prohibited for use as a weapon. However, it has been used repeatedly in Syria with little more than condemnation from the international community.
President Assad has now claimed victory …read more
Source:: Time – World