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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  April 7, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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this is cnn breaking news. >> tonight, i ordered a targeted, military strike, on the airfield in syria, from where the chemical attack was launched. >> breaking news. a series of missile strikes by the u.s. on syria after this week's chemical attack reaction around the world is strong. it's swift. what is the next move for president trump? welcome to "early start." i'm christine romans. 3:00 a.m. here in the east. >> i'm dave briggs. it is friday, april 7th.
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3:00 a.m. a dramatic breaking news, and what appears to be a massive evolution. a turn from president trump, as we launch 59 tomahawk missiles from a pair of navy warships in the mediterranean, aimed at the base that launched the chemical weapons attack in syria. >> the president explaining his reasons for green lighting this air strike in a brief statement. >> assad broked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. it was a slow and brutal death for many. >> this is the first direct military action the u.s. has taken against the assam regime. what's the direct reaction from syria? from moscow? and what is the monext move for
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president trump? our story begins from ryan browne. good morning or late evening, ryan. it's been a fast-moving developments since about 8:40 eastern time last night. >> that's right, christine. we're learning more details about the strike. it was 59 tomahawk cruise missiles launched against this airfield. the pentagon briefed reporters showing some of the evidence that links this airfield to the strikes that involves chemical weapons. that includes tracking data for the air force that took off and conducted that air strike. we're learning that this strike was targeted, not at personnel, but it was intended to make the airfield, nonoperational. it hit radar sites. fueling stations and air force belonging to the syrian regime. one thing we've learned there were russian personnel at that
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facility but the pentagon communicated with the russian personnel via military-to-military channel and warned them of the strike the day before. and the strikes were deliberately targeted away from where the russian personnel were believed to be. the first strikes against the asat regime. but taylored to get the airfield and not forgetting regime or russian troops. >> what do we know about the effectiveness of the strike at this point? it's early. >> it is early. because the strikes were conducted overnight, intended because there were fewer personnel around, that makes it more difficult to asset. given the large number of missiles targeting this one airfield, i think they're pretty confident they hit and destroyed
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quite a few air force and quite a large element of that facility. this facility was also believed to have housed chemical weapons before 2013 when the russian/u.s. deal forced the regime to give up some of those. but they made sure general mcmaster, the national security adviser told reporters they wanted to avoid targeting chemical weapon storage areas, to prevent leaking out. >> storage of chemical weapons they're not supposed to have. >> thank you. we'll get back to you shortly. rhe let's to christiane amanpour. it was 24 hours ago, telling us, one of the options for the president if he followed through on his language that things had changed for him, of bashar al assad was taking out airfields. what's your reaction this morning? >> i think 24 hours ago you
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understood that president trump changed his rhetoric on syria. and reaction is coming in fast and furious, supporting this strike from the u.s. allies. from britain, there's been a comment also from france, saying now you can see that the future of seyria is not with assad. and you had reaction from australia, from israel, which strongly support what happened. on the other hand, you can condemnation from what i call the usual suspects, the usual corners, russia, oi ran and syria itself. this has been a very important turning of the united states policy on these issues. it's a limited, targeted strike. it's proportional to using of chemical weapons the we tonight believe there will be furtherer
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strikes like that, unless there's further action by syria. >> rex tillerson said it did not represent a change in policy or our posture against syria. what do you think of that statement? >> that's what we expect. the big picture in syria is to go after isis. the united states has increased force there's. increased its support for local forces on the ground. it's in the process of surrounding rocca. it's pursuing mosul. that's the main picture for the united states. for many, many years, people have said that which is the chicken and which is the egg? assad is the chicken. assad is the man who has started this war, who has used well cal weapons, who has created so many deaths and so many refugees. and isis grew from the actions and the vacuum in syria.
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so, it is a complicated process. and really, the united states, its allies and potentially, if they can manage to get russia onboard, are going to have to think how they can continue. if not more military action, the political situation is not working. there's no peace talks to speak of. syrian regime does not partake in them. has never been productive. there's nothing going on there. >> we're talking about the future of assad, what this means. maybe a week ago, a week ago. it looked as if -- the administration said it was up to the syrian people to decide the future of assad. now, the secretary of state, rex tillerson, in florida, before the strike, this is what he says. >> assad's role in the future is uncertain, clearly. with the acts he has taken, it would seem there would be no role for him to govern the
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syrian people. >> hard to predict what assad's response will be to all of this. >> well, christine, it's very important that the secretary of state of the united states is now saying that. it comes a couple of days before the chemical attack. the u.s. said publicly, our role is not to focus getting assad out. do we think he's a hindrance? yes. our focus is on isis. they also realize this is a bankrupt set of options to have assad staying in power. the allies are saying this chemical attack shows there's no future for assad in syria. what that means practically remains to be seen. he's supported by russia and by iran. and assad himself give an interview, which we talked about yesterday, in which he said, there's no option but to pursue
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this war. he fully intends to continue pursuing this war. we don't know whether his calculations change after this missile attack. but he is not by any stretch of the imagination, talking about peace talks or anything. he thinks he can win. he has powerful backers in iran and russia. the really interesting step forward now is to see whether anybody's political calculations will be shifted by the chemical attack and by the u.s. response. it's important that this is happening as president trump is hosting president xi in florida right now. >> how will it change the dialog dialogue? >> it will be focused where they didn't think it would be focussfocus ed. they want to talk about the ongoing disputes, over trade and things that are bilateral and
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affect the world in that regard. but also on the security issue and because they have a very, very thorny issue to deal with, which they don't agree on. china and the united states have a sort of disagreement on how to deal with north korea. unlike syria, actually has nuclear weapons. or nuclear devices, which it is busy turning into deliverable nuclear weapons. this is an important point for this meeting and to have this response for the united states, frame the context and the atmosphere for this meeting. it will be so crucial what comes out of this, what the two talk about. how they decide to handle each other, going forward. >> these two were having dinner when the strikes were taking place. president trump's strike on syria coming after a day
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huddling with close military advisers. we'll talk to our own military expert. what this means, next. pain used to shut me down during pick-up games. but with odor free blue-emu continuous pain relief spray, i can box out any muscle or joint pain immediately. blue-emu continuous pain relief spray, it works fast and you won't stink.
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welcome back to our breaking news coverage, for the missile strike against syria. before green lighting the attack, president trump was briefed by james mattis for every option available. let's go live to washington. welcome in our expert, retired
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colonel cedric lateny. good morning to you. starting with breaking news. six people were killed in the u.s. air strikes in syria. this is according to a televised statement by the armed forces general command. we're still learning about the effectiveness of the strike. is this, above all, meant to send a message to the assad regime? >> well, good morning, dave. i think it is. and the reason it's a message is because of the air base that was selected as a target. this air base was used, obviously, as the base from which the su-23, mig-23 aircraft were used to go after the idlib province targets they went after. when they did this, what the u.s. was doing, they were telling the syrian regime, that we know that you used this as the base from which you launched your aircraft.
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we know you have chemical weapons stored on this base. the fact that you have the chemical weapons on this base means that you are violating agreements that we have made with you and with russia and quite frankly with international law. and that becomes a real problem for the u.s. and that's the way the trump administration has decided to deal with it, is basically send that message to them at that base. >> what kinds of options could general mattis presented to the president? he was huddled with his adviser and went to winner at mar-a-lago after making this decision. at dinner was when the air strikes happened. what were the suite of options that were presented to him? >> christine, it could be a variety of things. one of them would have been, instead of using tomahawk cruise missiles like they did use, he could have used manned aircraft. that presents with a much greater risk and that means that the pilots that fly the aircraft
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would have been at risk of being shot down. so, the president didn't want to do that. there would have also been the option of doing nothing, which clearly the president rejected. and possible other option, might have been to attack a whole series of different targets. that would have been a much more aggravated response, more accelerated response than what we saw. this was for president trump to send a message. of the options that were laid before him, were to be kinetic, to have bombs go off in syria and to tell them if you do this again, there may be other consequences that we can't foresee at this point. >> certainly, message received. but, colonel, how does it hamper the assad regime's ability to launch further strikes? >> well, that depends on where
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else they have the chemical weapons stored. right now, we know they had them at this particular air base. there are other bases that probably have chemical weapons. and they could use those bases to launch similar attacks, like they did the other in idlib provin province. if that happens, there really is in hindrance to what the regime can do. they have a lot of ways to deliver munitions. and they seek to terrorize the populations they go after. they do that using helicopters, using the so-called barrel bombs. they have a variety of different places they can do that from. and it would be really hard to shut them down completely. this is a warning if you do this, there are other consequences. the syrians don't know what the consequences are. and they probably haven't been thought through in washington, either, to be frank. >> what does this mean for u.s.
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troops? there are troops in esyria who are working to fight back isis. advising our coalition partners on fighting isis. what duoes it mean for that figt against isis and american troops? >> it could be several different things. one of the things that will probably happen, christine, they are going to have much more difficult interangctions with t russians. they're not supposed to have direct interaction with the syrian armed forces with assad. but they have to have some degree of koocoordination as th fight around rocca. with that, the coordination will be more difficult with both those forces. and the fact that is going to happen could create a lot of problems in the fight against raqqah, in the fight against isis to capture that city. that will be the most significant issue. of course, there are force
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protection issues where they could be the subject of terrorist attacks, maybe not directly from the syrian government, but from hezbollah, for example, or the iranian revolutionary guards, which are active in syria, as well. >> of global importance is what does this mean for u.s./russian relations, colonel? >> these relations between russia and the united states are basically put in the icebox, at least for a bit. we're going to see some very frosty exchanges. we've seen president putin's statement, a cold statement. we're expecting a statement from the russian foreign minister shortly. those kinds of things will come out. there will probably be much more difficult work that diplomats at the united nations will have with the russians. that nato will have. we could see something else happening in ukraine. there's a lot of different things that could happen.
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i's going to be a difficult period for u.s./russians relations. they thought they had somebody that they could use to their ends. that may not be the case. >> one military official says these may be worse than a cold war. >> the head of the russian parliament, one of the committees said it should not affect the upcoming visit of rex tillerson. >> that's in the next week or so. we don't have a date for that. >> going to russia. and for the attention between the u.s. and russia has been bubbling, we're going to unpack the kremlin's reaction. live in moscow next. it's a little something i've done every night since i was a kid, empty my pocket change into this old jar. it's never much, just what's left after i break a dollar. and i never thought i could get quality life insurance
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following breaking news. the u.s. launching tomahawk missiles at a syrian air base in response to a chemical attack that killed scores of civilians including children. the air strike prompting a fierce response from russia,
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which is a backer of the assad regime. matthew chance live in moscow with kremlin reaction. what are they saying? >> reporter: yeah. we've been sort of waiting a long time for this reaction because what the kremlin does, what russia does over the air strikes is absolutely crucial. it's a nuclear power. the strikes bring u.s. forces into potential conflict, into direct contact with russian forces on the ground. it's an immensely dangerous moment. the kremlin doesn't appear to be reacting too hysterically. it's not happy with what is taking place. president putin records the american attacks on syrias a aggression, in violation of the forms of international law and under a far-fetched pretext. that's a fact that russia's versions of events doesn't agree that the government carried out a weapons strike in the rebels.
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saying the syrian air force struck a storage depo in which chemical munitions that were run and owned by the rebels, was attacked. and that's what caused the escape of chemicals and the incredibly terrible loss of life. that's what that refers to. in terms of the relationship between russia and the united states, it was rocky. but there were hopes it could be turned around by the trump administration. this is obviously a nail in the coffin of that idea there can be a reset between russia and the united states. and the kremlin has referred to that saying this action is causing significant damage to russian/american relations. particularly in the formation of any anti-terrorism international coalition which is now obviously not going to happen in the foreseeable future between these two countries. christine? >> to ask you, they were russian personnel at that air base. they were warned through military channels or informed
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this was going to happen. it's a remainder that you have the russians and the americans and the anti-isis coalition working together on one front but seeing -- at opposite sides on the other extreme on assad at this moment. >> reporter: it's a horrifically complex civil war that they have been thrown into the middle of. the russians use the air base that was attacked. they invested a lot of money in updating it and upgrading it. it's been severely downgraded by the u.s. military. i think that the russians will advance. they didn't use the surface-to-air missiles which are capable of taking out the cruise missiles to defend their
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syrian ally. that's important. >> that's a good point. matthew chance, keep monitoring the response from moscow for us. with the u.s. no longer on the sidelines in syria, how do the missile strikes affect one of the most unstable regions as we move forward? let's bring in mohammuhammad li live from istanbul. what is the reaction to the air strikes? >> this morning, diave. we have reaction from the syrian army itself, referring to the air strikes as, quote, continuation of a faulty american strategy. the statement goes on to say that this makes the united states a partner with groups like isis and knonosra, which t alaka qaeda. matthew touched on this. the idea of throwing a bunch of missiles into the middle of the complicated conflict. you have to think of the ripple effect.
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this has become a regional war between competing powers in the middle east. seeing saudi arabia coming out, calling trump's decision a courageous decision. and applauding the fact that there's a military operation against military targets in syria. turkey, as well. coming out forcefully and saying they hope the pressure on assad will continue, and continue to the point this assad will be forced out of power. there's even an editorial cartoon in the arab news, which is a major publication here in the middle east. the cartoon depicts the reaction from the sunni gulf states here. an american eagle broken free of chains. that represents the obama doctrine. and the eagle is swooping down on syria, iran and isis. that's the feeling of the backers. reaction in iran has come out and condemned this vocally.
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how will russia and iran respond? >> and the statement from the syrian army demonstrates how complicated regime change would be. mohammuhammad lila, thank you s much. "early start" continues right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> the wake of a campaign where he promised not to intervene, president trump launched strikes against the syrian regime. how does this response to a chemical attack affect the conflict to the long term. >> we welcome all of your viewers here in the u.s. and around the world. our breaking news, president trump launching missile strikes in syria, in response to the
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chemical weapons attack by bashar al assad. u.s. warships launched 59 tomahawk missiles. this is the airfield where the planes that carried out the chemical attacks were based. >> assad joked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. it was a slow and brutal death for so many. no child of god should ever suffer such horror. >> this is the first trekt military action is u.s. has taken against the adad regime in the six-year civil war. so many questions. what's the reaction from syria? from moscow? and what will the next move be by president trump, who said the u.s. should stay out of syria, just days ago, comfortable with
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the assad regime staying in power. let's say good morning to ryan browne. have we learned anything more of the effectiveness of the strikes? >> we're waiting to hear information about what the military calls battle assessment. they were tone overnight, that allows for fewer personnel to be caught up in the strikes. one of the objectives was to minimize the casualties. it makes an assessment of how effective the strike was. take more time. they need some light to conduct the surveillance to assess the damage. but the military's fairly confident, given the number of missiles fired and given they were going to these specific targets on the air base. they're confident they have the intended affect targeting aircraft, radar, the taxiway.
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all of the things that make the airfield operational. the military shared with us information that they said linked this airfield to the chemical weapons strikes earlier this week, including tracking data for some of the aircraft, they believe dropped the chemical munitions in question. this is evidence that really drove them to hit this airfield with the intention of disabling it. >> we know yesterday, ryan, that the president was at mar-a-lago, having dinner with president xi. earlier in the day, he had held with his military advisers to see what suite of options he had. he made that decision before dinner. had dinner with the chinese preside president. and this happened about 8:40 eastern time. tell us a little about the evolution to do air strikes. >> the president said his decision had changed following the chemical weapons use by the
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regime. they received briefings on options, we're told. and secretary mattis was briefing him. these options had been developed before the trip. they had been presented with a menu of options for some time. and tomahawk cruise missiles make sense. it minimizes the risk to u.s. personnel, if it was a manned aircraft, there's a chance they could be fired upon. this is a standoff weapon. it allows it to be fired from some distance. it allows for the intended effect without putting u.s. forces in danger. there's hundreds of troops already in syria, participating in the fight against isis. they're constantly aware, we're told -- i was speaking to someone in baghdad earlier. they're aware of what's going on. they're monitoring it closely, in case there's any retaliatory reaction. they're not taking steps out of now.
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but something they're keeping an eye on. >> ryan browne, we'll check back with you at about 4:00 a.m. thank you. for world reaction, let's turn to chief international correspondent, christiane amanpour live in london. the syrian army in effect saying the u.s. is now a partner with is isis. what's your reaction to their statement? >> look, it's nonsense, isn't it. but it's what you expect to come out of syria. more interestingly is that the government of hons has been quoted on syrian television or media saying that very soon, they're going to get that airfield up and running again. they're being defiant. and this is expected and typical from them throughout this regime. they've always tried to say, we're fighting terrorists and anybody who is against us is with the terrorists. that's been the narrative from the begins of this war. it's a false narrative. the syrians are not fighting terrorists.
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they're fighting mostly the civil wans and the moderate opposition. but what's important is that the president of the united states took the commander in chief decision, in violation of international law and the use of weapons of mass destruction. it's not the first time that syria has done it. but the first time that assad has been punished for it. it was a deterrent, as far as ryan is reporting and others from the fog, a one-off, retaliated for this strike. and response from u.s. allies has been very supportive. israel, the united kingdom, france, many, many others. nato says it was alerted before this happened. the british defense secretary said this was an entirely american of ration. it wasn't a nato operation but we support it. that's the reaction from the
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allies. >> what about from russia? we spoke with matthew chance a minute ago. there were russians on that base. that is a facility they've invested in and have used. that could be incredibly dangerous to have any kind of russian loss of life or any, you know, russian blowback if something were to gone wrong. >> i think you're right. had russia been targeted, it would have been dangerous. had russian personnel been killed even accidentally, it would have risen the stakes dramatically. had russian hardware been involved, it would have been dangerous. but from what we gather from the pentagon, they were told, ryan said, i thought i heard ryan said, at least a day before, through deconflict channel. whether russia was able to tip
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off the syrians. the syrians were saying we managed to get our planes out of the way. we don't really know. the fact of the matter is, the correct channels were used and they were warned. but the important thing here is, assad, apparently, struck this deal to remove the chemical weapons back in 2013, after the red line of president obama, which was not followed up, except diplomatically, to get the weapons out. russia was party to this. it was russia's suggestion. if assad is use thing, which people have confirmed that he is, then they are not -- their promise from assad has been broken, as well. it's a really important poemt. a moment. the deterrent aspect of it is the most important moment. nobody believes this is going to result in a change of military strategy. >> are we closer to a removal of
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assad? and how complicated would regime change be in syria? >> i can't see any indication that's going to happen or that's on the cards from a u.s. perspective or nato perspective. i see, though, since the chemical attack, all of the person leaders says this shows there can be no future in syria with assad at the helm. and the french foreign minister doubled down and said that. and the last few days in the aftermath of the chemical attack, the u.s. prime minister said the same thing, the british foreign minister said the same thing. the rhetoric of assad must go has come back. it's really important. there's some political meetings going on. but nobody expects the a lot to come out of them. and the assad regime has occasionally gone to the meetings. but according to the u.n. who
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runs them, has never played anything like a constructive role. has never showed any willingness for transition. has not shown any willingness to have representative government, which were the most important forces against him. the politics and the peace negotiations, have achieved absolutely nothing, as we all know. and furthermore, just to finalize, just a couple of days ago, when we were reporting with this yesterday, assad told a reporter, a croatian reporter, he sees no option other than to continue waging this war. he thinks he can go on forever. we'll see if his calculation changes, since the retaliation for his chemical attack. >> one person that did change, was president trump. he has gone from america first to the intervention .
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you want to see if they get anything ominous from this event in syria. >> well, i don't see any conflict between america first and taking this action. this is obviously a threat to the international community. and the rise of isis which assad enabled is a threat to the community and the wider world. and the use of chemical weapons is a threat to the international order. that's not at all in conflict with america first. but you're right, that the president did say both on the campaign, when he actually poo pooed back in 2013, any notion that president obama followed through on his red line. he urged him not to follow through. on the campaign trail and in office, in the last week alone, said and so did members of his
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administration, we're not focusing on assad. that could have been taken that he had a green light to do whatever he wanted. and the united states was not after him and nor the rest of the allies. some are thinking that. the commander in chief went into action in response to this violation of international law. and he's taken the commander in chief response to this violat n violation, in conjunction with general mattis, and general mcmaster. they have given him the options. he has chosen the limited, targeted option. that's the one most people believe is the correct option. >> message received. christiane thank you. we'll come back to you in the 4:00 hour. coming up, our military expert explains how the president weighs his options, next.
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welcome back to our breaking news coverage of the u.s. missile strike against syria.
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before green lighting the attack, president trump was briefed by james mattis on every military option available. >> let's go back to washington and get perspective from retired colonel cedric ligeighton. 50 tomahawk missiles at this air base. your initial response? >> i think it was a clear move by the trump administration to lay down a marker. to say to the assad regime that they cannot use chemical weapons. they cannot do the kinds of things they've gotten away with, during the last seven years of the syrian civil war. and that very factor -- i should say, six years. that fact creates an interesting and different dynamic. in the relationship, between the united states and syria, but also the very complex syrian civil war.
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could change some of the outcomes in the battlefield and in the near term. >> is it possible to view this as a one-off military option? >> i think it could be a one-off action. but if it is, a huge opportunity has been lost. ? the administration decides they're going to do this and not follow it up with anything else, then we'll be back to the status quo before this attack took place. as far as the civil war in syria is concerned, it could change things in several ways. it could affect in a negative way, the fight against isis because the way the syrian regime looks at this, if you're fighting against isis, you're
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basically on our side. but if you're fighting against us, you're on the side of isis. they now see us as being on the side of isis. they said those things in the press releases. of course, we all know as christiane amanpour mentioned previously, that's not correct. it is noninnocence. >> that's the expected reaction. you said if we don't follow this with furtherer military option action, it's back to status quo. >> that could be military and could include things much as making sure if the syrians, conducting another chemical attack against their own people, that is similar attack takes base against the air base where the aircraft took off from. that is one way to do that. for them on the diplomatic front for the u.s. administration to go forward and in front of the
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u.n., in front of the international court of justice, basically tell the world what the syrians have been up to. and in essence, serve as advocate for the victim officials the syrian civil war. those are the things that could happen. in materials of other military option, of course, there are lots of ore things that could happen. the question is, how far do we want to go and how far do we want to get involved? that, of course, is something that i tonight think the administration is prepared to answer at this particular moment. >> let's talk about russia quickly. the foreign minister saying this is to distract away from the u.s. milling civilians in mosul. you're starting to get sharp language from the russians. the russians are there on the ground. very close proximity to american troops and american action. fighting against isis. how difficult is this going to be? >> it will be very difficult. the russians will look at it through their lens. they will try to take advantage
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of it from their perspective. if the fact they bring up the death of civilians in mosul is a another way to deflect what the russians have done in many places in syria. so, they have been implicated in bombings of hospitals and of schools. and the results of their activities have been far worse than anything else the united states has done. the fact they're saying what they're saying, is it tells me, that what the russians are going to do is they're going to paint the united states in as negative a light as possible. they're going to say the united states is in essence, guilty of war crimes. the things we're accusing the assad regime of. and it's going to really put a chill in the relationship between the united states and russia. not that it needed much of a chill, mind you.
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but it will be part to get along with them. >> christiane amanpour has something she wants to add. christiane? >> to reinforce what the colonel is saying, it's really important not to get swayed by propaganda and all of the other things. for the russians to suddenly focus on mosul and civilian deaths, as the colonel was saying, is completely inappropriate. all you have to do is look at the difference between the way the russians have backed the syrians and what they did many aleppo for all those weeks and months and destroy that place, like they did grozny and chechnya, in the '90s, compared with the care that the united states takes under rules of engagement, when it's trying to get rid of isis in mosul. and the russians have not shown any actual, real attempt to go after isis the it's all against opponents of assad and very sadly, tldeliberate attacks
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against civilians. it's really important to keep that in focus, as the trading of insults and trying to score one ups is going to continue from now until this is resolved, if it is. >> russia is complicit, if they're troops were on the base where the attacks were launched. christiane amanpour and colonel, back with you next hour. a lot between the u.s. and russia, hitting another rough spot with the strikes. we go live to moscow, next. ancee group. i wore lederhosen. when i first got on ancestry i was really surprised that i wasn't finding all of these germans in my tree. i decided to have my dna tested through ancestry dna. the big surprise was we're not german at all. 52% of my dna comes from scotland and ireland. so, i traded in my lederhosen for a kilt. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story.
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following breaking news. the u.s. launching tomahawk missiles at a syrian air base in response to a chemical weapon attack, this week, that killed scores of civilians including children. it prompted a fierce response from russia, which has backed the assad regime. matthew chance live in moscow with kremlin reaction. it's coming in, fast and furious here. >> reporter: it is. a couple of strands of reaction i want to bring to you. the kremlin has made its response. saying the attacks on syria are
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an aggression against the sovereign state under norms of international law. and the facts that russia does not acknowledge that the syrian government carried out a chemical weapons strike. this was a normal air strike, that was on a storage depot where the rebels were storing chemical munitions and that resulted in the largescale loss of life. and the foreign ministry saying this situation, this action, destroys russia/u.s. relations. and interesting, they've announced what is potentially a very important measure. they're saying that russia is suspending the air safety agreement, between russia and the united states and syria. this is a decon flags agreement. to prevent planes coming into contact in the skies over syria. it's a dangerous step the
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russians have taken in retribution for the strikes. >> is it what they use to alert the russians that the air strikes were coming in? >> reporter: it probably is. and that is, in fact, one of the silver linings of the russians to get -- out of the way, without any reports of russian personnel being caught up. it's interesting the russians did not use their very capable missiles system to take down any of the tomahawk missiles. they could have and didn't and i think was a tacit attempt, the russians stood back and allowed their ally no syria to be struck hard by the u.s. military. >>

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