The missile strikes launched in response to Syria's alleged chemical weapons attack on its own citizens "sent a strong message to Syria, Russia, to Iran," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
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The airstrikes conducted by the U.S., Britain and France succeeded, Sanders told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday. "They 100 percent met their objectives."
Sanders continued, “They went out to destroy critical chemical weapons infrastructure in Syria and they did exactly that. And they also sent a strong message to Syria, to Russia, to Iran that when this president has a red line, he will enforce it,” she said referring to the administration's "red line" against use of chemical weapons.
Asked by Stephanopoulos if President Donald Trump plans to act on his earlier announcement to end the U.S. presence in Syria, Sanders said the United States has three objectives in Syria: Defeating ISIS, containing Iran, and ending the use of chemical weapons.
"We have to stop the spread and the use of mass chemical weapons," she said.
Trump in announcing the airstrikes on Friday night said Iran and Russia, backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, are “the two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing the criminal Assad regime."
"What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?” the president said.
Russia and Syria have both denied any use of chemical weapons by the Assad government in the country's civil war.
But a report released by the White House on Saturday, hours after the missile attack on Syria, said, “The United States assesses with confidence that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons in the eastern Damascus suburb of [Douma] on April 7, 2018, killing dozens of men, women, and children, and severely injuring hundreds more.”
Trump tweeted Saturday night that the strike was “perfectly executed,” proclaiming, “Mission Accomplished!”
A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2018
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said in a Pentagon briefing with Defense Secretary James Mattis that the strike hit and “destroyed” three targets that “were specifically associated with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program.” The three targets were a scientific research center near the capital, a chemical weapons storage facility and a chemical weapons equipment-storage facility.