On April 13, 2018. in conjunction with the U.K. and France, Donald Trump ordered the United States to launch strikes on Syria. This was in retaliation for the suspected chemical weapons attack by President Bashar al-Assad on Damascus last week.
According to the president of the U.S. the goal was to hit sites that had chemical weapons capabilities.
Trump said, “We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.” In his speech, Trump encouraged Iran and Russia to withdraw their support for Syria’s barbarism and brutality.
The president directly addressed Russian and I ran, asking “What kind of a nation want to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men and women and children?”
Russia is a key ally to the Assad regime and they responded quickly to the attack on Friday. President Vladimir Putin denounced the chemical raids. He called them an “act of aggression against a sovereign state that will make the humanitarian crisis in Syria worse. Putin called for an emergency United Nation’s Security Council meeting, saying the chemical strike had a “destructive influence on the entire system of international relations,”
The U.N. said the security council will hold an emergency meeting at 11 a.m. ET, on April 14.
The chemical attack in the city of Douma, on April 7, killed dozens of people including children, according the NBC News. Both Syria and Russia denied involvement in the attack.
On Saturday, Putin reaffirmed that the chemical attack was a fake. He criticized the U.S. and its allies for launching a strike without waiting for inspectors to visit the area. The inspectors are from the international chemical weapons watchdog.
According to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the fact-finding team will continue their planned deployment to Syria. They will help to establish the facts around the suspected chemical weapons attack.
The airstrikes were supported by the European Union, Israel, Germany, and other allies. British Prime Minister Theresa May stated that reports indicated that the Syrian government used a barrel bomb to deliver the chemicals. She said, in this case, the use of force was legal and right.
In Syria, explosions could be heard to the east, south and west of Damascus. Witnesses saw blasts surrounding them and a massive fire could be seen from a distance to the east. As Associated Press reported in Damascus said the attacks turned the sky orange.
The missile attack was launched at 9 p.m. ET and struck targets that were associated with Syria’s chemical weapons program, according to Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The targets included a scientific research center in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility in Homs, and a military outpost that held chemical weapons equipment close to Homs.
The U.S. identified the targets to mitigate collateral damage. It was also noted there was surface-to-air missile activity from Assad.
According to the Russia Defense Ministry out of the 104 missiles fired, 71 were downed. The Syrian air defense systems were able to intercept most of the rockets. However, NBC was unable to verify that claim.
In April 2017, the Trump administration carried out a similar attack when 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched at Syria.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said it is obvious the Assad regime did not receive the message last year. This time the U.S. and its allies struck harder to send a clearer message to Assad and his murderous lieutenants that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack.
If the U.S. and its allies pursue further action against Syria, it will be up to the Assad regime. Should he decide to use more chemical weapons, then further action will be deployed. Will the U.S. go to war with Syria?
By Jeanette Smith
NBC: Trump announces strikes on Syria following suspected chemical weapons attack by Assad forces
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