The United States is “locked and loaded” to strike again if Mr. Assad again is believed to have used chemical weapons, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Saturday at an emergency meeting called by Russia.
“We are confident that we have crippled Syria’s chemical weapons program. We are prepared to sustain this pressure, if the Syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will,” Ms. Haley said.
She said that Russia had failed to abide by a 2013 promise to ensure that Syria got rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles
“While Russia was busy protecting the regime, Assad took notice,” she said. “The regime knew that it could act with impunity, and it did.”
The strikes hit Syria before dawn on Saturday, with loud explosions jolting residents of Damascus, the capital, from their beds as their walls and windows shook. American officials said the offensive was to punish Syria for what they called a chemical weapons strike last Saturday on civilians in Douma.
A group from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which had announced a fact-finding mission to determine if chemical weapons were used in the Douma attack, arrived in Damascus on Saturday morning, the group said in a statement.