Assad is defiant as US-led strikes in Syria show no sign of threatening his hold on power

U.S.-led strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities prompted defiant celebrations in Damascus on Saturday as it became clear that the limited attack posed no threat to President Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power and would likely have no impact on the trajectory of the Syrian war.

Fears of a wider escalation faded after it emerged that the locations targeted by the United States, Britain and France had been confined to three sites associated with the Syrian chemical weapons program, had caused no serious casualties and had probably not destroyed Syria’s capacity to develop and deploy banned chemical substances.

There were expressions of anger from Syria’s allies, with Russia labeling the attack an “act of aggression,” Iran calling it “a war crime” and Syria describing it as “barbarous.” President Trump called the attacks an “enormous success,” tweeting that they represented a “Mission Accomplished.”

But on the streets of Damascus, there was jubilation as government supporters realized a more expansive assault would not materialize. Residents gathered in central squares and danced to patriotic songs, waving Syrian flags alongside those of Russia and Iran, Syria’s allies in the fight against the anti-Assad rebellion.

“The honorable cannot be humiliated,” said a tweet by the Twitter account maintained by

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