Syrian Missile Strikes

Josh Meador

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Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad unleashed the worst chemical weapons attack Tuesday, April 4 on the northern rebel held town of Khan Sheikhoun since the start of the Syrian six-year Civil War. More than 80 people were killed, 25 of them being children and hundreds more injured from symptoms of sarin nerve gas.

In response to this attack, on the morning of April 7 President Donald Trump ordered the United States military to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US warships USS Ross and USS Porter in the Mediterranean Sea aimed at the Shayrat Airbase where the planes that carried out the chemical attacks were being held. President Trump said, “Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” He also stated, “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.”

The strike was successful in severely damaging or completely taking out Syrian airplanes and infrastructure, including the runway, hangars, and fuel pumps reducing Syria’s capability to deliver chemical weapons, Navy Captain Jeff Davis said. There were at least six people killed in the airstrike, Syria claimed, but civilians were not a main target, the airbase was, according to the Pentagon.

This missile strike is the first U.S. military force used against President Bashar Al-Assad and his Syrian regime since the start of the country’s civil war. President Trump originally opposed military action in Syria during his campaign, but this shows that he is willing to take immediate action against governments that cross the line, as Syria did. Much of congress and top lawmakers approved of Trump’s decision to strike Syria, but some condemned the action because he did not consult with Congress first. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both who have been extremely critical of Trumps actions, applauded his decision. Saying in a joint statement, “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 Rand Paul however has pledged Trump should consult with Congress stating, “While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked,” Paul said. “The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the strike describing it as, “an act of aggression against a sovereign state that dealt a serious blow to Russia-US relations.” North Korea is also now ramping up its nuclear weapons testing showing they may be a force to be reckoned with. Could this missile strike have made other countries view the United States as a country that no longer plays games or sparked another World War?

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Syrian Missile Strikes