Loyalists celebrate 'victory' in Damascus after limited US-led airstrikes
Syrians have gathered at landmark squares in the capital Damascus, honking their car horns, flashing victory signs and waving flags following US-led airstrikes.
The gatherings broke out early on Saturday following the wave of US, British and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for a suspected chemical attack against civilians.
In Damascus, hundreds of residents gathered in Omayyad Square, many waving Syrian, Russian and Iranian flags.
Some clapped their hands and danced, others drove in convoys, honking their horns.
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.
"Good morning steadfastness," one broadcaster said.
The channel carried live images of hours-long street celebrations with people dancing and chanting in support of their government.
A few hours earlier, before sunrise, loud explosions jolted Damascus and the sky turned orange as Syrian air defence units fired surface-to-air missiles in response to three waves of military strikes.
US President Donald Trump announced on Friday night that the three allies had launched military strikes to punish Assad and to prevent him carrying out more chemical attacks.
Trump said Washington is prepared to "sustain" pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.
The Syrian government has repeatedly denied any use of banned weapons.
A fact-finding team of inspectors from the international chemical weapons watchdog was in Damascus and had been expected to head to the town of Douma on Saturday, scene of the suspected chemical weapons attack that killed more than 40 people.
The limited strikes with no apparent future strategy for how to deal with the wider civil war was a cause for celebration by Assad supporters but criticised by the Syrian opposition.
Mohammad Alloush, spokesman for the Army of Islam rebel group, called the airstrikes a "farce" on Twitter.