The United States fired dozens of cruise missiles at an airfield in Syria that military officials said was the source of the poison gas attack by the Assad regime that killed at least 80 civilians less than 48 hours earlier.
President Donald Trump said he ordered the airstrikes in response to the chemical weapons attack Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad carried out on his own people.
“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” Trump said of the victims of the sarin gas attack, speaking briefly about 10 p.m. from his Mar-a-Laga estate in Florida.
“No child of God should ever suffer such horror,” the president said.
The Associated Press reported that about 60 Tomahawk missiles hit the Shayrat air base in central Syria at 8:45 p.m. EDT.
The missiles were fired from two destroyers, the USS Ross and USS Porter, in the Mediterranean, Fox’s Jennifer Griffin reported.
In his remarks, Trump said:
Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield from which the chemical attack was launched. It is in the 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 U.N. Security Council.
Trump went on to call for a coalition to assist the United States in opposing Assad and terrorism “of all kinds.”
“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,” Trump said.
During the presidential campaign, Trump positioned himself as a noninterventionist and before entering the race had warned his predecessor, President Barack Obama, not to intervene in Syria.
But during a Rose Garden press conference Wednesday, Trump said his attitude toward Assad and Syria had changed after he saw the carnage, especially the horrible deaths of children and infants.
The U.S. strike at the Shayrat airfield hit planes, fuel, spare parts, and the runway, The New York Times reported, citing military officials.
Trump did not warn Russian President Vladimir Putin before the strike, Fox White House correspondent John Roberts reported from the president’s estate in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. The U.S. did notify the Russian through normal “deconfliction” channels, officials said.
Putin has supported and supplied the Assad regime.
Hundreds of U.S. troops are on the ground in Syria as part of the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS.
The strike occurred just after Trump said goodnight to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who is visiting Mar-a-Lago for talks with Trump this weekend, Roberts reported.
Trump did not state whether the United States policy supports regime change in Syria.
Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the fate of Assad is up to the Syrian people.
However, earlier Thursday, Tillerson said: “There would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people.”
Trump also did not answer a reporter’s question about his legal authority to launch the strike.
Obama, despite an earlier warning about a “red line,” opted to seek congressional approval–which he never got–to launch an air strike against Assad after a previous chemical weapon attack that killed civilians.
Members of Congress registered their initial reaction over Twitter.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who spoke by phone with the president earlier Thursday, tweeted:
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., cited Scripture:
Other lawmakers opposed the action:
The full text of Trump’s statement:
Read more here: http://dailysignal.com/2017/04/06/us-cruise-missiles-strike-air-base-in-syria/ by Fred Lucas Originally posted on http://dailysignal.com/