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United States launches dozens of missiles at Syria after chemical attack

A former ambassador to Syria says the United States’ decision to fire dozens of missiles at an air base is unlikely to escalate conflict.

The US carried out the attack on Thursday night, shooting dozens of Tomahawk missiles at targets in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civilians and shocked the world.

Bob Bowker was Australia’s ambassador to Syria from 2005 to 2008 and spoke with 3AW Mornings shortly after the news broke.

‘I think it was intended to send a message to the Syrians that they’d crossed the line, as Trump had foreshadowed,’ Mr Bowker said.

‘Provided they’d alerted the Russians beforehand, which I think they probably did, and there was no unexpected collateral damage to Russian service people and so on, I don’t think we’ll see any real escalation.’

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Dara Conduit, an associate research fellow at Deakin University who specialises in Syria, said it was a symbolic move by the US following the horrific chemical weapons attack.

‘I think the Trump administration is a new administration, and it wants to make a mark,’ she told Tom Elliott.

‘It’s not the worst chemical weapons attack that has taken place in Syria, in August 2013 more than 1000 people were killed in an attack carried out by the Assad regime and that was confirmed. 

‘I think this time it got so much publicity.’

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