WASHINGTON D.C. – The United States launched an attack on Syria, firing Tomahawk missiles into the country “in retaliation for the regime of Bashar Assad using nerve agents to attack his own people,” United States defense officials report.
The Department of Defense says President Donald Trump ordered the attack on Al-Shayrat Air Base, “the base from which the chemical attack on Syria’s Idlib province was launched” on April 4. The missiles were launched from U.S. Navy ships in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
U.S. Navy video showing the missiles launching into the air from the USS Porter destroyer was posted to YouTube via official military channels.
The missile strike is in retaliation for the Syrian dictator’s alleged use of a banned sarin nerve agent in the April 4 attack, an atrocity in the six year Syrian war.
“Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians,” Trump said in a statement to the nation. “Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
“It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” the president said.
“Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically,” Trump said. “As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.”
Global attention is now on the Russian response to the U.S. airstrike. Russia has propped up the Asad regime during the war.
Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line, said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, adding that U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel at the airfield.
The strike was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, or TLAMs, launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Davis said in the Pentagon statement. A total of 59 TLAMs targeted Syrian aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.
“We are assessing the results of the strike,” Davis said. “Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated.”