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Summary

  1. Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles targeted Shayrat airfield near Homs, Syria
  2. President Trump said the attack was "in vital national security interest" of US
  3. The action followed a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians in a rebel-held town
  4. The Syrian army says the strikes killed six and caused "extensive material damage"
  5. Russia, a close Syrian ally, condemned the US "aggression" and suspended a joint air safety agreement

Live Reporting

By Max Matza and Alex Therrien

All times stated are UK

Thank you and goodbye

Thank you for following our live coverage of the first US military strikes against the Syrian government.

The BBC will continue to follow the story.

Read our main story here

And below, a look at some of the questions that will be asked in the days and weeks ahead.

What is Trump's plan in Syria?

Communication breakdown

Sarah Rainsford

BBC Moscow Correspondent

The Russian Defence Ministry has denied reports in US media that the line of communication with the US in Syria remains open.

A statement says that today a note was sent to the Pentagon from the Russian Defence Ministry through military-diplomatic channels, informing them of the termination of the "hotline" communication channels established by the 2015 memorandum.

In addition, the US military attache was called to the Defence Ministry this evening, and officially handed the same note - informing him that from midnight tonight, the Russian side was pulling out of the deal.

This was the memorandum establishing the communication channel to exchange information and prevent incidents in the skies over Syria.

Netanyahu: Israel 'fully supports' air strike

Benjamin Netanyahu
AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he supports the "strong and clear message" sent by the US missile strike in neighbouring Syria.

"In both word and action, President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated," a statement from Netanyahu's office said. 

"Israel fully supports President Trump's decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime's horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere." 

One Twitter commentator has cautioned the Prime Minister that unlike Syria, Iran or North Korea may actually shoot back.

Florida Trump fans speak to the BBC

The BBC's Daisy Walsh is covering Donald Trump's visit to Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

She's taken some time to speak to Florida voters about Trump's actions in Syria.

Hear what they have to say:

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US military: 'We trusted Russian guarantees'

A Pentagon official tells the BBC that the US will be paying closer attention to Syria's weapons arsenal due to the recent developments.

In 2013, Russia and the US reached a deal in which Syria chemical weapons would be removed from the country. But apparently that has not happened.

"We collect intel on lots of aspects of the Syrian military, of course. We want to know their military activities," the official says.

"Looking for chemical weapons is something that's always in the portfolio. 

"Because we had trusted the Russian guarantees that they had removed those capabilities, that was not at the top of our list."

Now, he said, "that moves up the list".  

Trump told Chinese counterpart of attacks

"I’m not going to get into future actions," White House spokesman Sean Spicer says from Florida, where Donald Trump is spending the weekend.

"He’s not going to telegraph his next move. This action was decisive, justified, and proportional to the actions he felt needed taking."

He also said that the president told his Chinese counterpart of the strikes as their dinner together was concluding, but before he had been fully briefed on their result.


          U.S. President Donald Trump and China"s President Xi Jinping chat as they walk along the front patio of the Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach
Reuters

“The impact occurred at around 8:30 last night eastern time. The president informed President Xi as dinner concluded and he was on his way back to his temporary quarters. So, where the exact timeline is, I don’t know. But my understanding is that everything had made impact by the time he was informed - he informed President Xi,” Mr Spicer said.

"I think if you’ve seen the response from the world community they understand that the US acted appropriately and in most cases there is widespread praise for the president’s actions," he added.

News presenter calls US missiles 'beautiful'

MSNBC's Brian Williams has been criticised for calling the US Tomahawk missiles "beautiful" several times in less than 30 seconds during last night's broadcast.

Twitter users have expressed outrage over the poor choice of words, but others have been more forgiving.

The presenter was fired from his NBC show in 2015 after he falsely claimed to have been in a helicopter in Iraq when it was hit by a missile.

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Russia accuses US of encouraging terrorism


          Russia"s deputy U.N. envoy, Vladimir Safronkov listens to remarks during the Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria at the United Nations Headquarters, in New York
Reuters

Russia has accused America of encouraging "terrorists" with its unilateral actions.

Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, told the session that the US military's "illegitimate" missile strikes had encouraged "terrorists" in Syria.

"When you take your own path, this leads to horrible tragedies in the region," he said, addressing the US.

His comments echo earlier statements from Syrian and Iranian officials.

Facebook live on Capitol Hill

Awkward first meeting

Carrie Gracie

China editor

The Florida summit began with President Trump's grandchildren singing a Chinese song to President Xi and his wife, but even before the dinner plates were cleared, the host had created an awkward challenge for his guest.

China's position on Syria is much closer to Russia's than to the US. And the Chinese government will guess that the timing of the American missile strike was a blunt message that without more robust Chinese help on dismantling Kim Jong-un's nuclear programme, the next target for pre-emptive American military action might be North Korea. 

In Chinese protocol, sudden moves disrupting set piece occasions are avoided wherever possible, and in private, President Xi is likely to be angry that President Trump chose to strike on the very night of his visit.

But in public Xi stuck to his script about the virtues of co-operation while Trump insisted they'd formed an outstanding relationship and made great progress. 

As the two presidents went into their final lunch there were no specifics, and in the aftermath of the US missile strike on Syria, all the big questions which bedevil the US China relationship have be kicked down the road for President Trump's visit to China later this year.

US blames Russia for the presence of chemical weapons

BreakingUS 'prepared to do more', ambassador says

"The United States took a very measured step last night", ambassador Nikki Haley tells the UN Security Council. 

"We are prepared to do more," she adds before yielding the floor to the representative of Syria.

Pentagon briefs reporters on Russia issues

Senior US military officials just held an off-camera briefing, attended by the BBC's Suzanne Kianpour .

Officials, who did not wish to be identified, said reports that the so-called "deconfliction" phone line with the Russians has been stopped is false - despite the Russian embassy in Washington tweeting that it had been cut. 

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"That line is still open. We’re still actively using – and there’s someone still on the line," officials said.

One official also disputed a Russian report that all 59 missiles did not hit Al Shayrat airfield. 

He told the BBC: "We are very positive all our missiles reached their target." 

The US military is investigating Russian involvement in the chemical attack. While they have no knowledge of any such involvment at the moment, they added: "but we're not done".

They said they are now looking more aggressively at Syria's chemical weapons program. 

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Russia lashed out inside the UN Security Council

Air strike makes negotiation more likely, former UK foreign secretary says

Malcolm Rifkind
BBC

The UK's former foreign secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, said he believes the US air strike makes it more likely that Russia will pressure the Syrian government into negotiating a political solution to the country's ongoing civil war. 

He said the Syrian government had felt it was winning until now. 

"The Russians and Assad have said we might as well keep this war going because every week, every month we control more territory, so that when negotiations do eventually begin Assad will already control most of the country," Sir Rifkind said.

"He cannot now make that assumption." 

AP: US looking into whether Russia participated in chemical attack

Syrian refugee: We welcome bombing

Rubble in Aleppo
Getty Images
Syrian soldiers in the eastern outskirts of Aleppo on 30 March 2017

Ahmed, a Syrian refugee now residing in the US state of Pennsylvania, just got off the phone with BBC News.

Q. Do you have family remaining in Syria?

"My parents are both in Syria. They live in a town 50km outside Aleppo. They are married. I have six daughters total. I have three daughters in Turkey."

Q. How do you feel about the suspected chemical weapons attack?

"Seeing the victims of the chemical weapons attack was difficult. Where is the interaction from the international community?  Why didn't they do anything to stop the massacres? Trump's decision is welcomed by Syrians because we hope he will remove Assad."

Q. What do you think of the US strikes?

"I do not think this one strike will, or can, change anything. We saw the Russians' reaction was more air strikes. We thank the US government. I hope to be reunited with my family in America. I hope Trump opens the door to refugees."  

Q. How has the war affected your family?

"Many people including my family have immigrated out of Syria such as to Turkey and Lebanon because of the situation. I hope the international community will do something."

Trump's best day?

BBC North America editor tweets...

'War criminal' Assad has been 'put on notice'

Matthew Rycroft at the UN Security Council
EPA

The UN Security Council is meeting to discuss the US missile strikes on a Syrian airbase from which Washington believes a chemical weapons attack was launched. 

The British ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said the attack was a signal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that time was running out for him.

"The United Kingdom supports the US air strike on al-Shayrat airfield because war crimes have consequences and the greatest war criminal of all, Bashar al-Assad, has now been put on notice. 

"The US strike was a proportionate response to unspeakable acts that gave rise to overwhelming humanitarian distress. 

"It was also a strong effort to save lives by ensuring that such acts never happen again."

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Bolivian ambassador objects to US decision

Bolivian ambassador
UNTV

"We are here to defend multilateral-ism!" 

"The UN charter must be respected", the Bolivian ambassador says angrily, holding up the actual charter booklet.

He adds that this is an "extremely, extremely serious violation of international law", adding that "this is the not the first time that this has happened", in a reference to the US invasion of Iraq.

Russian warship headed to Mediterranean

According to Russian news agency  TASS , a ship from the Russian Black Sea Fleet is en route through the Mediterranean to the Russian base in Tartus, Syria.

The ship, which is reportedly named The Admiral Grigorovich, is armed with cruise-missiles.

A source tells the Russian agency that it will remain in the area for more than a month.

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Syria war: Who's fighting whom?

Children in al-Bab
AFP

The conflict in Syria is often referred to as a civil war, meaning a conflict between citizens of the same country.

It certainly started as an uprising of Syrian citizens.

But if you look at today's headlines, it's clear that what is happening today in Syria is far more complex.

Some of the most powerful countries in the world are involved. 

As are an alphabet soup of armed opposition groups, the Kurds and, of course, so-called Islamic State.

Read more .

'How did it all start?'

We're answering your questions on Syria

In a statement about why he authorised the air strikes, President Trump explained:

"Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.

It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons."

He called President Assad a "dictator" who had "launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians" and called on "all civilised nations" to help end the conflict.

To understand events before the suspected chemical attack, this summary explains why there is a war in Syria.

You can ask more questions here.

UN Security Council debate begins

As UN ambassadors entered the debate hall in New York, a few of them previewed their remarks to the BBC's Nada Tawfik.

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'We are being punished' - Syrian refugee in the US

A Syrian man who recently came to the US as a refugee has spoken to the BBC about the recent developments. 

Q. How do you feel about the situation? 

"I am very sad. I want peace in Syria, not war. I have family in Syria right now. My wife's family is in Syria now. They are in Damascus. They are very sad. They say the children cannot go to school because of the war. They also see children that have died. They want peace." 

Q. What are your thoughts on the suspected chemical weapons attack? 

 "We are being punished for the war. We want peace." 

Q. How? 

"I am Muslim but I love all religions. The Muslim ban is not a Muslim ban because it affects all religions. Christians, Yazidis, everyone. No one can enter. I wish peace for everyone." 

Q. Do you have family in Syria now? 

"Yes. My wife's family, my sister, and my father. They live in fear. It is intense. There should not be a war for a man and a child and women who are innocent. I hope peace will prevail throughout the world so our children will live in peace and have a better future." 

Q. Why did you leave Syria? 

"I left Syria because my house was destroyed and I was afraid for my children. Before the war we all lived in safety."

Russia denies Sarin was at Shayrat air base

BBC Monitoring

News from around the globe

Russia has denied claims Sarin was present at Shayrat air base that was targeted in the US air strike.  

"The latest claims that chemical agent Sarin was kept at the targeted Syrian air base are groundless," Mikhail Ulyanov, who heads the Russian Foreign Ministry's nonproliferation department, said. 

"It's a clumsy attempt to somehow justify actions that contravene the basic norms of international law.

"As for allegations that Russia is supposedly covering up the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army in Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April this year, this is a shameless lie. In reality, we support a thorough investigation into this," he said, according to Russian news agencies RIA Novosti and TASS.

The US national security adviser, Herbert McMaster, told a news conference that "measures [had been] put in place to avoid hitting what we believe is a storage of sarin gas" at Shayrat. 

US 'must rebuild its military'

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, just released this statement:

"The United States, under the Trump administration, will play an emboldened leadership role worldwide; the days where our enemies don’t fear us and our allies don’t trust us are over.  

"The world is as dangerous now as at any time in my lifetime and the complex situation in Syria highlights that danger. These strikes underscore the requirement to immediately begin to repair the damage the Obama administration did by slashing military budgets and gutting military readiness, weakening the position of the US globally. 

"We must rebuild our military and national security so that we may achieve peace through strength. I applaud the president for his action.”

US Republican leader calls for Assad removal

Asked by the press if the strikes are an indication that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go, Republican Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell said this:

"This strike was simply about 'do not use chemical weapons again'.

"I just can't imagine after all the butchering of his own people... that there can be any successful conclusion to this chaos with him still there."

'UK was in close contact with US before airstrike'

Michael Fallon
BBC

Britain was in close contact with the US administration in the run-up to the air strike in Syria, the UK's Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said. 

Sir Michael said UK Prime Minister Theresa May had been "kept informed throughout" of the US plans.

But while Britain remains part of the US-led coalition that is attacking so-called Islamic State in Syria, he said there had been no request from Washington to join the strike on the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

BreakingPhoto from Florida 'Winter White House'

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer just tweeted this image.

He added in a later tweet that the image was taken at 21:15edt/01:15gmt.

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Red Cross: 'This is an international armed conflict'

"Any military operation by a state on the territory of another without the consent of the other amounts to an international armed conflict," said ICRC spokeswoman Iolanda Jaquemet.

"So according to available information - the U.S. attack on Syrian military infrastructure – the situation amounts to an international armed conflict."

Ivanka Trump 'proud' of her father

Russian prime minister releases statement

"Instead of the previously touted idea of a joint fight against the main enemy - the Islamic State - the Trump Administration has shown that it will carry out a fierce battle against the lawful government of Syria," Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Facebook.

The US strike was "on the verge of engaging in military encounters with Russia", he adds. 

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Statement by US ambassador to the UN

Nikki Haley had this to say:

"This morning, Bolivia requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the events in Syria. It asked for the discussion to be held in closed session. 

"The United States, as president of the Council this month, decided the session would be held in the open. "Any country that chooses to defend the atrocities of the Syrian regime will have to do so in full public view, for all the world to hear."

'Unclear how air strikes will make civilians safer'

It is "entirely unclear how air strikes will make civilians any safer", the chair of the United Nations Association UK, an independent policy authority on the UN, has said.

Writing in a blog post , Lord Wood of Anfield said: "Unilateral action without broad international backing through the UN, without a clear strategy for safeguarding civilians, and through military escalation, risks further deepening and exacerbating an already protracted and horrific conflict, leaving civilians at greater, not lesser, risk of atrocities." 

Senator Cruz agrees with Trump, but advises against further action

cruz on fox
Fox

Senator Ted Cruz said on Friday that President Donald Trump needed to make the case to Congress and the American people before taking further military action in Syria.

The Texan Republican, and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Syria a "humanitarian disaster" and Syrian President Assad a "monster", but said future military responses should be directly tied to US national security interests.

"There are some folks in Congress that want to see us in protracted military involvement in Syria. I think that would be a mistake," Sen Cruz told Fox News.

"But it's the Commander-in-Chief's prerogative to defend this nation and Congress has the authority to make decisions about declarations of war."

Full statement from UN Secretary-General

I continue to follow the situation in Syria closely and with grave concern.

I was abhorred by the chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria, and the death and injury of many innocent civilians.

I have long stated that there needs to be accountability for such crimes, in line with existing international norms and Security Council resolutions.

I have been following reports of the air strikes against the Shayrat Airbase in Syria conducted by the United States.

Mindful of the risk of escalation, I appeal for restraint to avoid any acts that could deepen the suffering of the Syrian people.

These events underscore my belief that there is no other way to solve the conflict than through a political solution. I call on the parties to urgently renew their commitment to making progress in the Geneva talks.

A political solution also remains essential for progress in the fight against terrorism.

The Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. I call on the Council to unite and exercise that responsibility.

For too long, international law has been ignored in the Syrian conflict, and it is our shared duty to uphold international standards of humanity.  This is a prerequisite to ending the unrelenting suffering of the people of Syria.