The United States has conducted a missile strike against Syrian airbase after reports that the country may have used chemical weapons on a town held by the rebels.
Two US Navy ships based in the Mediterranean fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, with President Donald Trump saying that they struck the Shayrat base where the Tuesday chemical attack was launched.
This is the first time the US has taken a direct action against Syria’s president – Bashar al-Assad. Russia, which backs al-Assad, has come out in the open to condemn the strike.
According to spokesman Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin isn’t pleased with Donald Trump’s move and termed it “an act of aggression against a sovereign nation”.
While speaking of the attack at Mar-a-Lago, Trump said that it is in the interest of the US security to discourage the usage 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 UN Security Council. Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically,” he added.
Changing the policy
By deciding to strike Syria, the President made a shift in US policy over the question whether America should take military action the Syrian regime. While campaigning for office, Donald Trump vehemently opposed such an action but it seems the weight of the presidency is finally changing his point of view.
The President is said to have been moved by this week’s chemical attack images, visibly judging from his expression at the address with reporters.
The strike was scheduled to happen at 3:40 am local time when the camp would be expected to have minimal activity. The area of focus was on petroleum, hardened aircraft shelters, aircraft and ammunition supply bunkers. In general, the military sought to destroy things that make the camp operational.
Earlier results show that the airstrike damaged Syrian aircraft as well as support equipment, significantly cutting down on the government’s ability to supply chemical weapon materials.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefed reporters, maintaining that the attack wasn’t a shift in US policy despite the Thursday night strike being the very first time the US has taken military action against the Syrian government.
“There has been no change in that status. It does demonstrate that President Trump is willing to act when governments and actors cross the line … and cross the line in the most heinous of ways,” he said.
Reporters were also shown by the military radar images of a Syrian airplane flying off from the airfield to the area where the chemical attack happened.
According to Tillerson, there is no doubt that the Syrian regime is responsible of at least three attacks in the past few weeks. The regime used the Sarin and nerve gas.
Russia Condemns Attack
Kremlin said that the US airstrike is a violation of Syria’s sovereignty. A Russian official backed this, saying that the war on terror will be undermined and warned that they may seize cooperating with US forces.
Viktor Ozerov, head of the Russian Federation Council’s defense committee, according to state news agency RIA, said that Russia will demand for an urgent UN Security meeting to deliberate on the matter.
He added that the US move is an act of aggression against a member of the UN.