President Donald J. Trump said in an address Thursday evening that the United States carried out an airstrike which targeted one of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad’s air bases. Trump asserted that this action was in response to the Syrian government’s April 4 chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun which killed more than 80 civilians and injured hundreds more.
This was the first time the White House had ordered any military action directly against the Assad regime.
At approximately 8:40 P.M. EST, U.S. Navy destroyers fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Assad’s Al Shayrat airbase. Russian troops had also been working out of this Syrian base, but Moscow was not coordinated with directly of the attack before hand. However, Russian ground forces nearby were informed by the U.S. of the forthcoming strike.
President Trump authorized the strike without congressional approval.
Here is what President Trump had to say in his evening address:
“On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. 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,” Trump said during his Thursday address.
No child of God should ever suffer such horror. Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.
Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed, and failed very dramatically. As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and region continues to destabilize, threatening the Unites States and its allies. Tonight I called 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.
We ask for God’s wisdom was we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed and we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will in the end prevail. Goodnight and God bless America and the entire world.”
After President Trump’s address, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that the U.S. believes Sarin Gas was used by the Assad regime on Syrian civilians for the April 4 Khan Sheikhoun attack. Tillerson claimed that the U.S. will work with the Geneva process to transition Assad from power — thus initiating regime change. Tillerson also said that, “either Russia’s been complicit or Russia’s been incompetent in its ability to deliver” removal of Assad’s chemical weapons.
This is a breaking story. We will be updating as it develops.