On Thursday evening U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a cruise missile strike against a Syrian Air Force airfield that was used to launch a chemical weapons attack on April 4th in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria which killed and injured hundreds of innocent Syrian people.
“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” President Trump said in a statement from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida where he is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“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 the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies” President Trump added.
President Trump called on all civilized nations to join the U.S. in seeking to end “the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria” and said 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.
The U.S. Pentagon released a statement Thursday evening, reporting the U.S. military strike in Syria was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and was intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again.
“A total of 59 TLAMs targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars. As always, the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict” the Pentagon press operations said.
The Pentagon statement explained that “every precaution” was taken to execute this strike with minimal risk to personnel at the Shayrat airfield where the U.S. airstrike occurred and said the U.S. intelligence community “assesses that aircraft from Shayrat conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4.”
The Pentagon indicated that Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike and U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.
The Pentagon is still assessing the results of the strike; however, initial reports have revealed that the 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.”
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