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Five things to know about the USA airstrikes in Syria

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As ABC News reported later on Friday, the Syrian military had apparently been tipped off to the attack-presumably by its Russian allies-and had largely evacuated by the time several dozen Tomahawk missiles landed.

Ms Haley said the strikes destroyed an air field from which the U.S. believes the attacks on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun were launched, killing 86 people including 27 children.

The UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has since called off a visit to Moscow, saying the situation had changed "fundamentally" and he would work with the U.S. in pursuit of a ceasefire.

Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, told Friday's session in NY the USA military's "illegitimate" missile strikes had encouraged "terrorists" in Syria. They sent a message to Bashar al-Assad that there are consequences.

In a speech broadcast on state television, Mr Rouhani said: "The man who is now in office in America claimed that he wanted to fight terrorism".

It comes after US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters that he plans to announce additional economic sanctions aimed at Syria in the near future.

Opposition and rebel fighters, who have for years urged more direct U.S. military action in support of their uprising, hailed the strike and called for more.

The UK ambassador, Matthew Rycroft, said the United States strikes were a "proportionate response to unspeakable acts".

We also need to build and support a coalition that can effectively ensure the safety of Syrians at home and ensure neither Assad nor the Islamic State can destabilize the country. As this instability continues, Assad will steadily eliminate the opposition, and the West will see the reestablishment of an anti-U.S. and Israel crescent stretching from Tehran to Israel's border.

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The Syrian government has denied being behind the attack and the Russian government warned against apportioning blame until an investigation had been carried out.

The Pentagon said the base was used to store chemical weapons and that "every precaution" had been taken to avoid casualties. The BBC is unable to confirm this information.

Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, described the USA strikes as "illegitimate".

At the meeting, the United States envoy to the UN Nikki Haley warned that America may take further action and said her country would not stand by when chemical weapons were used as it was in its "vital interest" to stop their proliferation.

"We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary", Ms Haley said at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev charged that the United States strikes were one step away from clashing with Russia's military.

Four Syrian servicemen were killed, two others were missing and six received burns while fighting the fire, the statement said.

But the horrific images of human suffering caused the president to change his mind about military action there. "It was a slow and brutal death for so many - even attractive babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack".

Instead, when asked about the Syrian president, he told members of the press: "First and foremost, the President believes that the Syrian government, the Assad regime should, at the minimum, agree to abide by the agreements that they made not to use chemical weapons".

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