Asymmetric Dialogue

Iran leader calls US-led strike 'military crime'

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar Smoke rises early Saturday, April 14, 2018, after airstrikes targeted different parts of Syria. SOURCE: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
Iran's state-run IRNA news agency said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called the U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria a "military crime."
He spoke at a meeting with Iranian officials and ambassadors from some Islamic countries.
The report quotes Khamenei as calling the leaders of the United States, Britain and France — the countries that launched the attack — "criminals."
The allies' operation was intended to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for an apparent chemical attack against civilians and to deter him from doing it again.
‘We are confident of its success,’ UK’s prime minister says 
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May explained Saturday why her country, France and the U.S. launched airstrikes against Syria.
"While a full assessment of the strike is ongoing, we are confident of its success," she said.
May also said that the U.K. worked with allies to establish what happened. She said all indications of an April 7 attack show it’s a chemical attack.
The World Health Organization also reported hundreds of people showed signs and symptoms consistent with toxic chemicals, May said.
Scores of people, including women and children, died after the April 7 attack.
Putin: Attack on Syria act of aggression 
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced a strike on Syria launched by the United States and its allies as an "act of aggression" that will exacerbate humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.
In a statement issued by the Kremlin, the Russian leader said Moscow is calling an emergency meeting of the United Nations' Security Council over the strike launched by the U.S., Britain and France.
Putin added that the strike had a "destructive influence on the entire system of international relations."
He reaffirmed Russia's view that a purported chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma that prompted the strike was a fake. Putin added that Russian military experts who inspected Douma found no trace of the attack. He criticized the U.S. and its allies for launching the strike without waiting for inspectors from the international chemical weapons watchdog to visit the area.
Meanwhile, the Russian military said Syrian air defense units downed 71 out of 103 cruise missiles launched by the U.S. and its allies.
Russia: Missiles aimed at Syrian air base downed 
The Russian military said Syria's Soviet-made air defense systems have shot down all 12 cruise missile aimed at a Syrian air base.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that 12 cruise missiles were launched at the Dumayr air base east of Damascus. It said that Syria's air defense assets have downed all of them.
The ministry said altogether more than 100 cruise and air-to-ground missiles were launched by U.S., British and French aircraft and navy ships. It did not mention the overall number of missiles intercepted by Syrian forces.
The Russian military said it hasn't engaged its air defense assets at its air and naval bases in Syria.
'We are your men, Bashar': Hundreds celebrate in Syria's capital 
Hundreds of Syrians are demonstrating in a landmark square of the Syrian capital, waving victory signs and honking their car horns in a show of defiance.
The demonstrations broke out early Saturday following a wave of U.S., British and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for a suspected chemical attack against civilians. The Syrian government has denied the accusations.
In Damascus, the president's seat of power, hundreds of residents gathered in Omayyad Square, many waving Syrian, Russian and Iranian flags. Some clapped their hands and danced, others drove in convoys, honking their horns.
"We are your men, Bashar," they shouted.
State TV broadcasted live from the square where a large crowd of civilians mixed with men in uniforms, including an actor, lawmakers and other figures.
"Good morning steadfastness," one broadcaster said.
UK: Initial indications show successful attack on military facility 
The British Defense Ministry said four of its Tornado GR4 warplanes fired missiles at a military facility as part of the tripartite attack on Syria.
The ministry said the missiles were fired around 15 miles west of Homs, where it was assessed the Syrian regime keeps agents used to make chemical weapons.
The ministry said in a statement Saturday that the warplanes struck the former missile base with Storm Shadow missiles after "very careful analysis" to maximize the destruction of stockpiled chemicals and to minimize any risk of contamination to the surrounding area.
It said the facility is located "some distance from any known concentration" of civilian residential areas.
The ministry said a detailed analysis of how effective the strike was is continuing, but initial indications show a successful attack.
Syrian TV says 3 wounded in US-led missile strike on military base 
Syrian state-run TV said three civilians have been wounded in the U.S.-led missile attack on a military base in Homs.
It said the attack was aborted by derailing the incoming missile but adds nonetheless that three people were wounded.
It said another attack with "a number of missiles" targeting a scientific research center destroyed a building and caused other material damage but no human losses. The network said the building in the research center included an educational center and labs.
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