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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Joe Dunford. (DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

The U.S. launched coordinated strikes on Syria Friday night, in alliance with France and the U.K., in response to chemical weapons attack brought by the Assad regime. Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed that this was a "one-time shot," and that the strike was directed solely at the Assad regime, not at Russia — a supporter of the Assad regime.

The fallout to watch for: If the U.S. hit any Russians, we could potentially face an escalating military conflict. If the strikes were too limited, it’s possible Bashar al-Assad and allies may not be deterred from launching chemical weapons attacks in the future.

The Russian Embassy to the U.S. issued a statement warning that "such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

General William Boykin, former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under President Bush, told Axios: “It’s important people not think that we just destroyed all of Bashar al Assad's chemical weapons. There’s more out there, and those targets were the ones that were excluded for the potential for significant collateral damage."

  • Boykin also added: “We cannot allow the use of illegal weapons of mass destruction killing innocent people…if America doesn’t respond to this it’s the same thing as the world turning its back when the holocaust was going on.”
Watch for the fallout
  • Russia said earlier this week if its armed services are targeted, Russia would take retaliatory action. Russia's UN envoy Friday didn't rule out war with the U.S. if military strikes take place. And while last year the U.S. warned the Russians in advance of the strikes, this year, the Russians were not told in advance the targets.
  • If strikes don't target Russia and Iran, “it will not harm Assad’s backers and therefore is unlikely to weaken [Assad's] resolve,” according to Jenny Cafarella of the Institute for the Study of War. Secretary Mattis said Friday, “clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year." The question remains, will Assad and his allies get it this year?
  • Civilians: It’s also possible there are chemical leaks from the strikes in the air. Watch for reports of civilian casualties as well — although the U.S. was trying to avoid civilians, this is likely a possibility.
Expect fake news

Mattis announced he anticipates a "significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime."

  • The Pentagon plans to hold a morning briefing on the latest details, "in an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy."
One final thing
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.