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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

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

4 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. chargés d'affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten the embassy's ability to assist Americans.