The United States launched dozens of cruise missiles Thursday night at a Syrian airfield in response to what it believes was Syria’s use of banned chemical weapons that killed at least 100 people, U.S. military officials told NBC News.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Just in case you were wondering, our new president, unlike the previous president, does not intend to “lead from behind” on the global stage. During the campaign Trump promised swift and decisive military action when needed, with little to no advance warning. Tonight is yet another promise kept from President Trump.
Two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea fired 59 Tomahawk missiles intended for a single target — Ash Sha’irat in Homs province in western Syria, the officials said. That’s the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons.
There was no immediate word on casualties. U.S. officials told NBC News that people were not targeted and that aircraft and infrastructure at the site were hit, including the runway and gas fuel pumps.
“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” President Donald Trump said in remarks from Mar-a-Lago, his family compound in Palm Beach, Florida.
“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” said Trump, who called on other countries to end the bloodshed in Syria.
Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, warned on Thursday of “negative consequences” if the United States carries out military strikes on Syria over a deadly toxic gas attack. “We have to think about negative consequences, negative consequences, and all the responsibility if military action occurred will be on shoulders of those who initiated such doubtful and tragic enterprise,” Safronkov told reporters when asked about possible U.S. strikes. source
A White House official told NBC News that more than two dozen members of Congress were briefed by administration officials on the missile strike. Vice President Mike Pence returned to the White House after having gone home for dinner Thursday evening and monitored the events from the Situation Room, officials said.
Syrian television characterized the missile strike “as American aggression” Friday morning. But 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.”
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the Defense Department, said initial assessments showed that the airfield was severely damaged, reducing Syria’s capability to deliver chemical weapons. source