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Russian Trolls Increased '2000 Percent' After Syria Attack, Pentagon Says

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Syria Damascus air strikes

The entry of government forces to Douma follows a Russian-mediated deal that secured the surrender and evacuation of the rebels and thousands of civilians from the town.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, new national security adviser John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence and USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley were all involved in the decision to strike Syria, Reuters reports.

The shadow of the 2003 invasion of Iraq still lingers in the corridors of Britain's parliament, when MPs backed then-prime minister Tony Blair in joining USA military action.

"As Secretary Mattis said last night, the Russian disinformation campaign has already begun", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a press conference.

The senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said analysis of images and witness accounts from the scene of last week's attack in Douma pointed to the use of the banned agent.

The official did not elaborate on what that information entailed.

Another U.S. official, also briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity, said Western nations strongly suspect that sarin gas was also used.

"The objective of our actions is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons".

The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the capital early Saturday, April 14, 2018.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss specifics beyond those contained in the formal statements.

A team of chemical experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, arrived in Damascus hours after the strikes.

On Saturday, she hinted the United States would strike again if Assad used chlorine, but stopped short of specifying which chemical agent she was referring to.

Their symptoms included "respiratory distress, central cyanosis [blue skin or lips], excessive oral foaming, corneal burns and the emission of a chlorine-like odour", according to the VDC.

Commentators questioned the message behind the latest strike - which signaled that Western allies would not let a chemical weapons attack go without punishment - but demurred about deeper involvement when barrel bombs by the Assad government kill far greater numbers of Syrians. The US and its allies France and Britain launched air strikes, targeting sites associated with Syria's chemical weapons capabilities.

Dozens chanted and held signs to demonstrate their disappointment in President Trump's decision to use military force in Syria without first letting global organizations confirm the chemical attacks. "The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air", he said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council that the military strikes were "justified, legitimate, and proportionate".

In 2012, Israel accused Syria of having one of the world's largest chemical weapons stockpiles, including sulfur, mustard, sarin and VX nerve agents. "Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military".

Trump also said the al-Assad regime has established a pattern of chemical weapons use on its innocent civilian population over the past year and most recently in an attack in Douma Syria just last weekend.

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