Trump Launches Tomahawk Strikes Against Syria

Xavier Alatorre, Staff Writer

The United States bombed a Syrian air base Thursday April 6, after the Syrian government attacked its own civilians with chemical weapons.

“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” Mr. Trump said in remarks at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida Thursday night. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

The president launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Al Shayrat airfield in Syria. The missiles were aimed at Syrian fighter jets, hardened aircraft shelters, radar equipment, ammunition bunkers, sites for storing fuel and air defense systems.

The Syrian government was able to launch fighter jets from the airbase the next day.

The chemical attack took place Tuesday April 4 in Idlib, a northwestern region of the country. At least 80 civilians were killed in the attack. World leaders expressed outrage at the brazen slaughter of civilians. A UK official suggested that the incident amounted to a war crime.

The attack strained relations with Russia. The Kremlin denounced President Trump’s use of force. The Russian military said that it was suspending an agreement to share information about air operations over Syria.

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin called the strike a violation of international law and called it a significant blow to U.S.-Russian relations.

The missile strike drew bipartisan praise from congressional leaders in the United States.

“I think the president had the authority to do what he did. And I’m glad he did it,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

However, in 2013, McConnell warned President Obama against striking Syria after the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Damascus – an attack that killed 1400 civilians.

When presented with a plan for airstrikes, McConnell said in 2013, “We have been told that the purpose of these strikes is to deter and degrade the Assad regime’s ability to use chemical weapons … But let’s be very clear about something. These attacks, monstrous as they are, were not a direct attack against the United States or one of its treaty allies,” indicating that he would not support such an attack against Syria.

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) commented, “Tonight’s strike in Syria appears to be a proportional response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons.”

“The crisis in Syria will not be resolved by one night of airstrikes,” Pelosi added.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do.”

However, some members of congress questioned the president’s authority to attack without congressional approval. Libertarian Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blasted President Trump

on Twitter.

“The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution,” Paul said in a Tweet.

The President’s stance on Syria and Assad has shifted. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Mr. Trump tweeted, “President Obama, do not attack Syria.”

He sent out numerous tweets afterwards imploring the previous president to not attack Syria, even saying “many very bad things will happen” and that the “U.S. gets nothing” from fighting in Syria.

During a press conference April 5, the President said, “My attitude on Syria and Assad has changed very much … that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me.” It is important to note that the president’s ban on refugees from Syria remains in place.