"Russia is convening an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the aggressive actions by the USA and its allies", the president said. Smoke could be seen emerging from the northern and eastern edges of the capital. He stated that the chemical weapons attack "was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very bad regime".
Iran is the key backer alongside Russian Federation of the Syrian president, providing military advisors and "volunteer" ground forces.
Syrian state television said government forces had shot down more than a dozen missiles, and claimed only the research facility in Damascus had been damaged. A US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes in Syria since September 2014 as part of a largely successful effort to break the Daesh grip on both Syria and Iraq.
While he has talked as recently as last week about pulling US troops out of Syria, the president vowed to remain committed to the goal of preventing further attacks with deadly poisons.
The chairman of the worldwide affairs committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, said the strikes were a violation of worldwide law and probably created to prevent investigators from the global chemical weapons watchdog from doing their work.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said there was some "activity" by Syrian surface-to-air missiles, but there were no reports of USA or allied casualties. USA officials said they could not yet confirm that.
"The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. They are crimes of a monster instead", Trump said referring to Assad and his role in the chemical weapons attacks. "No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators". "Our warnings have been left unheard", Anatoly Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the US, wrote on Facebook.
However, President Vladimir Putin has denounced the strikes, calling them an "act of aggression".
The President's mood has rarely been more sour, people close to him say.
As Saturday morning broke, hundreds of Syrian people came out to the streets in Damascus to defy, condemn a joint US, British and French attack earlier at dawn. "It is not about regime change".
The ministry reported that a total of 100 cruise and air-to-surface missiles had been fired (while 59 missiles were fired at Shayrat Airbase last year), a lot of them were shot down by Syria's air defense units while approaching the targets.
State TV broadcast live from the square where a large crowd of civilians mixed with men in uniforms, including an actor, lawmakers and other figures.