Blasts Reported in Syria Minutes after Trump Announces Attack on 'Monster' Assad

Blasts were reported in Damascus, Syria, just minutes after President Trump announced that he would be launching an attack in retaliation for last week's chemical attack by Bashar al-Assad on his own citizens.

Unverified videos appear to show the attack as it happened, with Tomahawk missiles lighting up the sky over the Syrian capital.

President Trump said in a speech from the White House Friday night that he "ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad." Trump said that the attack is a "combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom."

Trump called last weeks chemical attack "evil and the despicable" and added, "These are not the actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead."

The U.S. is conducting precision air strikes with B-1 bombers, and at least three structures have been hit, according to reports, including a scientific research facility in Damascus that may have been a chemical weapons site, and two buildings in Homs that are reportedly used for chemical weapons storage.

The AP reported: "Syria’s capital has been rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke as U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country’s alleged use of chemical weapons."

AP reporters in Damascus saw smoke rising from the east side of Damascus. "Syrian state TV says the attack has begun on the capital, though it wasn’t immediately clear what was targeted," the AP wrote.

Reuters is reporting that, according to a witness, several explosions have been heard in Damascus, with smoke rising on the east side of the city.

Syrian state TV claims that Syrian forces launched a counterattack and that 13 Tomahawk missiles were shot down by Syrian forces, although that information has not been verified.

China's Xinhua News posted an unverified video of the counterattack: