Last night the U.S. military sent a barrage of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles towards a Syrian air base — killing at least six people on the airbase and seriously damaging the airbase. The missiles were launched from two American destroyer ships.
The airstrikes were ordered by President Trump and the Sec. of Defense Jim Mattis in response to the chemical attack that was blamed on Syrian leader al-Assad. They are at the Mar-a-lago resort in Florida to meet with the Chinese president.
This is the first time the U.S. military targeted al-Assad’s military since the Syrian civil war started in 2011.
There were Russian soldiers who were at the airbase — and the U.S. gave them advance warning — an hour’s notice — of the airstrikes, and the missiles were directed not to hit areas in the base where the Russians were at.
But Russia criticized the airstrikes, calling it an aggression against a sovereign government. Iran also criticized the airstrikes.
The U.S. was very confident that the Syrian government did the chemical attacks — showing evidence from radar that showed Syrian war planes bombing the specific village where the chemical attack was — killing at least 85 people, at least 27 of them children. Autopsy results showed that sarin, a dangerous and banned chemical, was the cause of death.
The chemical attack is what caused President Trump and his administration to change their approach towards Syria — previously they preferred to focus on destroying ISIS from within Syria, while appearing to be “OK” with al-Assad being in power. But now it’s the opposite direction.
It seems like the airstrikes is a one-time thing — a response to the chemical attacks. A U.S. military official said as long as Syrians didn’t continue to do more chemical attacks, there would be no need for further airstrikes.
This airstrike is also a reverse for Trump — who in 2013, said on Twitter that Obama should not attack Syria. See those tweets:
Tweet: AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA - IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!
Tweet: President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your "powder" for another (and more important) day!
Trump said the images of the chemical attack and the children is what changed his view of Syria and al-Assad. Now we see that he will act with the U.S. military, a different approach from President Obama — who preferred to negotiate and give support to other allies rather than using our military.
Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham said Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action, unlike the previous administration.
This also shows that the Trump administration is willing to become an “enemy” of Russia — as they are a close ally of Syria.
We’ll see how this plays out on the world stage.