Major General Konashenkov also said the Russian military will help Syria beef up its air defences following the U.S. strike. She said the findings needed to be presented in a "highly credible global fora" so they could not be disputed.

The next two or three days are going to be critical for the future of Syria and any conflict between the United States and Russian Federation.

"One question is whether Russian Federation will respond in any meaningful way", said a senior USA official involved in planning the raid. "If they do, they will be further complicit in the actions of the Syrian regime". Russian military personnel and aircraft are embedded with Syria's, and Iranian troops and paramilitary forces are also on the ground helping Assad fight the array of opposition groups hoping to topple him.

And if Trump is now willing to protect Syrians from chemical attacks, will he feel compelled to shield others from what has been Assad's more pervasive slaughter?

"This aggression has increased Syria's determination to strike these terrorist agents, to continue crushing them and to speed up the pace of work on this, wherever they are on Syrian territory", it said.

He also said there were a number of casualties among civilians in a village near the air base. "Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, can not go unanswered, and those responsible must be held accountable", he said.

China said it was important to prevent a further deterioration in the situation. The US government has attacked a Syrian government asset for the first time.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's office said the action was "an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is meant to deter further attacks".

He described US President Donald Trump as "courageous" for taking action when "the worldwide community has failed to put a halt to the regime's actions".

For President Donald Trump, choosing targets and launching cruise missiles to punish the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons this week may have been a relatively clear-cut decision.

Turkey's deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus, said on Friday that the worldwide community should sustain its stance against the "barbarity" of the Syrian government.

Khaled al-Khaled, whose 16-year-old son is struggling to recover from the attack, said he rejects foreign intervention in Syria, but that "the regime has forced us to join hands with enemies". "The United States has to ask itself a question: How angry do we want to be on this issue?"

October 31: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says Syria has destroyed all declared chemical weapons production facilities.

Major Jamil al-Saleh, a US-backed rebel commander based in the area where the United States attack took place, said he hoped the strike would be a "turning point" in the six-year-old war, which has killed an estimated 400,000 people.

The United States is also in a murky situation now with Assad's two key worldwide backers.

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South Africa's main opposition party, Democratic Alliance, said it would try to remove the President via a vote in Parliament. The leader of an ANC radical breakaway group, Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema once said he would "kill" for Zuma .

It read: We are assessing the results of the strike.

"His repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own people call for sanctions, which France and Germany already demanded in the summer of 2013 after the massacre of Ghuta", the site of another chemical weapons attack.

The US military's strikes only intensify that debate.

In fact the retaliatory operation, cruise missiles launched from USA naval ships in the Eastern Mediterranean, was exactly the operation planned by President Obama before he agreed to a Russian proposal to strip the regime of its chemical arsenal. "US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks".

"President Putin considers American strikes on Syria aggression against a sovereign state in violation of global norms, and under an invented pretext", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces", Davis said in a statement.

"Italy understands the reasons for the USA military action", Alfano said.

The Pentagon has released a graphic detailing the flight path of a Syrian aircraft used to attack civilians with chemical weapons earlier this week. "We don't know the kind of information the prime minister may or may not have", he said.

The Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack.

"The targeting of a specific airfield from which these chemical attacks were conducted from was the right move", he told CBS News. He called for perpetrators of such attacks "to be held to account".

The victims of Tuesday's chemical attack in the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed more than 80 people and wounded dozens more, welcomed the strike, but said they feared it would be a one-off. A spokesman for Syria's armed forces denounced the United States a "partner" of jihadi groups in the country's civil war.

Dr Alexey Muraviev, the head of the department of social sciences and security studies at Curtin University, told SBS News US President Donald Trump had backed himself into a corner in terms of actions on Syria.

"Hitting one airbase is not enough, there are 26 airbases that target civilians", a key figure in the Army of Islam faction, Mohamed Alloush, said on his Twitter account. A coalition of Syrian opposition groups establishes the Syrian National Council, vowing to topple Assad and introduce democracy.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Russian Federation - which props up the Assad regime and agreed to mothball Syrian chemical weapons in a 2013 deal - of being incompetent or complicit in permitting Assad's actions.

"The political message a strike would send is that you are using an approach that is completely different than the previous administration", said Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute.