Trump orders attack on Syria

50 Tomahawk missiles fired at Syrian airfield from which chemical weapons were fired at civilians.

Contact Editor
Elad Benari, | updated: 05:27

Trump delivers statement on Syria strike
Trump delivers statement on Syria strike
Reuters

The United States fired cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield on Thursday night, U.S. military officials told NBC News.

According to the officials, two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea fired at least 50 Tomahawk missiles at the Ash Sha'irat in Homs province in western Syria.

The strike was a direct order from President Donald Trump, who confirmed the attack in a video statement.

“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 UN Security Council,” he said.

“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.

“Tonight I call 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 as 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, that peace and harmony will in the end prevail,” said Trump.

According to NBC News, the airfield that was targeted is the place from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad fired sarin gas towards the Idlib province earlier this week.

A Syrian military source quoted by Reuters said the strike had led to "losses."

"One of our air bases in the central region was exposed at dawn today to a missile strike by the United States, leading to losses," a Syrian state TV news flash cited the source as saying.

There was no immediate word on casualties. U.S. officials told NBC News that no civilians were targeted and that aircraft and infrastructure at the site, including the runway, were hit.

One U.S. official told NBC that Russia, a close ally of Assad, was warned ahead of the strike.

No Russian assets were targeted, the official stressed.

Ahrar Al Sham, the largest Syrian armed rebel group, told NBC News it "welcomes any U.S. intervention through surgical strikes that would deter the Assad regime capabilities to kill civilians and shorten the suffering of our people."

The strike came hours after Trump, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, said "something should happen" with Assad in the wake of the attack.

"I think what Assad did is terrible. I think what happened in Syria is one of the truly egregious crimes. It shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't be allowed to happen," Trump said.

"I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. He's there, and I guess he's running things, so something should happen," added Trump.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking to reporters later on Thursday, said “steps are underway” on an international coalition to pressure Assad from power.

“It's a serious matter, it requires a serious response,” the Secretary of State said, adding that this week's attack “violates all previous UN resolutions, violates international norms and long-held agreements.”








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