Donald Trump takes to Twitter after Syria airstrikes: 'Mission Accomplished!'

Opening the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged countries to uphold global law as the Security Council met to discuss military strikes carried out by the United States, France and Britain on Syria.

"The United Kingdom believes that it was both right and legal to take military action together with our closest allies to alleviate further humanitarian suffering", British Ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters ahead of the Security Council meeting.

"Good souls will not be humiliated", Syrian President Bashar Assad tweeted, while hundreds of Syrians gathered in Damascus, the capital, where they flashed victory signs and waved flags in scenes of defiance after the one-hour barrage launched Friday evening (early Saturday in Syria).

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White warned that Russian Federation was actively attempting to sow confusion about the attack.

The United States and its allies said three facilities associated with Syria's chemical weapons program were targeted: a scientific research center in the greater Damascus area, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and command post, also near Homs.

The attack drew criticism from Iranian and Russian officials, with Russia President Vladimir Putin calling for an emergency meeting at the United Nations but it does not appear his country is preparing a counter-attack.

In response to a Russian military claim that Syria's Soviet-made air defence systems downed 71 of 103 cruise missiles launched by the USA and its allies, a Pentagon official stated retorted that none of the missiles involved in the operation were brought down by Syrian forces. Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the USA did not coordinate targets with or notify the Russian government of the strikes, beyond normal airspace "de-confliction" communications. He said the targets selected by U.S., British and French officials were meant to minimize civilian casualties.

A Tomahawk cruise missile blasts off from a vertical launch tube on the USS Monterey. Syria has denied the accusation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed the air strikes as a "necessary and appropriate" action to warn Syria against further use of chemical weapons. A senior administration official told reporters Saturday that while there was more publicly available evidence pointing to the use of chlorine, the USA has "significant information that also points to sarin use".

Speaking in Downing Street, Mrs May said the "limited and targeted strikes" had degraded Syria's ability to use chemical weapons. "Right now, this is a one-time shot, created to set back the Syrian war machine's ability to produce chemical weapons".

"We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents", he said.

It does not appear that there are any follow up strikes now planned based on the available information at the time.

"An act of aggression against a sovereign state that is on the frontline in the fight against terrorism was committed without a mandate from the UN Security Council and in violation of the UN Charter and norms and principles of worldwide law", Putin said in a Kremlin statement. He criticized the USA and its allies for launching the strike without waiting for worldwide inspectors to visit the area.

May says the accounts about the use of a barrel bomb suggest that a Syrian government helicopter was seen flying above Douma just before last weekend's attack.

Germany also did not take part, although Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a statement backing the action. The strikes, more limited than once seemed likely, were created to deter the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons once and for all. The sites that were targeted had been evacuated days ago thanks to a warning from Russian Federation, the official said. Evidence that the nerve agent sarin also was used was inconclusive, he said.

One major concern the USA had was that the Syria strikes would prompt a direct confrontation between Washington and Moscow, whose relations have been spiraling downward. This has raised fears of a possible direct clash of USA and Russian forces. But the description from an ally described things differently.

But soon after, Secretary of Defense James Mattis gave a different assessment. Mattis said the number of weapons used was about double those employed in a strike in April 2017.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria". A later report held the government responsible for a third attack.

In the Syrian capital, Damascus, hundreds gathered to show their defiance in the face of western attacks, honking their auto horns, flashing victory signs and waving Syrian flags after the airstrikes. Iran and Russian Federation are supportive of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad despite wide-ranging reports of his harsh rule drawing criticism.

The combined U.S., British and French assault appeared more intense than a similar strike Trump ordered nearly exactly a year ago against a Syrian air base in retaliation for an earlier chemical weapons attack that Washington attributed to Assad.

Russia's Defense Ministry said they did little damage.

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, told the meeting: "If the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded".