U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during a Thursday press conference at West Palm Beach Airport that there is no doubt that the April 4th chemical weapons attack in Syria which killed 87 Syrian civilians was undertaken by the Syrian regime under the leadership of Syrian President Assad whose role in the future of Syria is uncertain.
Tillerson explained that with the recent acts that Assad has taken in Syria, “it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people.”
Tillerson said that the process by which Assad would end his leadership is something that requires an international community effort to defeat ISIS within Syria, to stabilize the war torn country, and then to work collectively with their partners through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving.
Asked if he and President Trump will lead an international coalition to remove Assad, Secretary Tillerson replied, “Those steps are already underway.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Friday from several reliable sources that the Shayrat Airbase, the 2nd largest in Syria, was destroyed almost entirely due to launched U.S. missile strikes.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 7 Syrian military forces were confirmed killed by the airstrike on the Shayrat Airbase.
Several U.S. allies have come out in support of the 59 U.S. airstrikes launched against the Shayrat Airbase in Syria, including England, France, and Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu said that U.S. President Trump sent a “strong message” with the Syrian airstrikes.
Russian state run TASS reported on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin said through Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov that the U.S. missile strike against Syria’s facilities was an “act of aggression and impairs both Russian-U.S. relations and the key goal of fighting terrorism.”
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that the Syrian army has no stockpiles of chemical weapons.
However, U.S. Pentagon Spokesman Captain Jeff Davis confirmed on Thursday that the Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces.
Pentagon Spokesman Davis noted the U.S. intelligence community assessed that Syrian government aircraft from the Shayrat Airfield conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4th and the American airstrike was intended to deter the Syrian regime from using chemical weapons again.
He reported that 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM’s) on Thursday targeted Syrian aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.
U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) issued a joint statement praising Thursday’s American airstrike in Syria.
“We salute the skill and professionalism of the U.S. Armed Forces who carried out tonight’s strikes in Syria. Acting on the orders of their commander-in-chief, they have sent an important message the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs” Senator McCain and Graham said.
Later in the statement, the two Republican Senators claimed the U.S. must follow through with a new, comprehensive strategy in coordination with our allies and partners to end the conflict in Syria while bolstering support for the vetted Syrian opposition and establishing safe zones to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Democrat Illinois Senator Dick Durbin wrote in a statement that the U.S. airstrike was a “measured response” to the Syrian nerve gas atrocity and explained that any further military action will require Congressional scrutiny and any further military escalation will require engaging the American people.
“My preliminary briefing by the White House indicated that this was a measured response to the Syrian nerve gas atrocity. Any further action will require close scrutiny by Congress, and any escalation beyond airstrikes or missile strikes will require engaging the American people in that decision” Sen. Durbin said.
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