The US launched a missile strike against a Syrian airfield on Thursday after Syrian forces under President Bashar al-Assad carried out a chemical weapons attack earlier this week.
According to CNN.com, 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched at the airfield from US warships stationed in the Mediterranean Sea.
President Trump gave the orders for the missile launch. In a statement, the President explained why the current state of affairs in Syria called for this course of action:
"Years of previous attempts at changing Assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically," he said. “As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies,” he added. “Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.”
Trump also condemned Tuesday’s poison gas attack which killed more than 80 people, including children, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.
The U.S. missile strike began at 3:40 a.m. local time (8:40 p.m. ET) and targeted aircraft, storage facilities, and other materials useful to Syrian forces. Six people were reportedly killed in the strike.
Both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian ally Vladimir Putin condemned the US’s actions.
Al-Assad called the missile strike “unjust and unabashed assault,” and said it “"shows nothing but short-sightedness, a narrowness of vision and a blindness to political and military realities."
Russian President Putin denounced the strike as "aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law under a far-fetched pretext,” and added that the strike “dealt a serious blow to Russian-US relations.”
Several U.S. allies, however, acknowledged that the missile strikes were necessary to combat al-Assad’s regime.
"We fully support what the Americans have done," said UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, adding that the strike was "limited and wholly appropriate."
Photo: In this handout provided by the U.S. Navy,The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter fires a Tomahawk land attack missile on April 7, 2017 in the Mediterranean Sea. The USS Porter was one of two destroyers that fired a total of 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield in retaliation for a chemical attack that killed scores of civilians this week. The attack was the first direct U.S. assault on Syria and the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the six-year war there.
Photo courtesy: Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via Getty Images
Publication date: April 7, 2017