The United States fulfilled the “something should happen” plan by President Donald Trump to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad when they struck Syria with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Thursday, April 6, in response to the chemical weapon attack.
According to a televised statement by the Syrian’s Armed Forces General Command, six people were killed in the airstrike, which Russia deduced as an “act of aggression.”
Victims of the chemical weapon attack in Syria. Photo by The New York Times
“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air field in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” Trump said during short remarks to reporters at Mar-a-Lago, where he ordered the strike just hours earlier. “It is in this vital national security of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” he continued.
The strike is US’ first direct military action Assad’s regime in the country’s six-year civil war. It exhibits a huge escalation of the US military campaign in the region, and the Syrian government could interpret it as an act of war.
Since 2014, the U.S. has been bombing Islamic State targets in Syria but this was the first strike against the Syrian regime. This also marked the first conventional assault on another country ordered by Trump.
“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,” Trump reiterated.
Meanwhile, Trump’s attack order stirred reactions from different people.
Regular Trump critics Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, roundly praised the President’s decision on Thursday night.
“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,” McCain and Graham said in a joint statement.
However, Sen. Rand Paul called on Trump to consult on Congress.
“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.”