By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, April 6, 2017, the United States has launched nearly five dozen cruise missiles at Syrian airfields following a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians.
US Representative Bradley Byrne said in a statement: “President Trump was right to respond to Assad’s barbaric and inhumane actions against men, women, and children in Syria. It appears the strikes were targeted and successful, and I want to share my gratitude and appreciation with the service members who planned and executed the strikes. Ultimately, we still must answer a larger question about the future of Syria and the role of the United States going forward. One thing is clear: Congress must be involved in those discussions and decisions about what happens next.”
US Senator Luther Strange (R-Alabama) said in a statement, “President Trump’s decision to engage in tactical airstrikes against the Syrian regime is the kind of decisive action required at this critical moment in the ongoing regional crisis. I applaud the swift action of our courageous US military and encourage the President to make it clear that the Assad regime will continue to face swift and strong judgment for its atrocities. The Syrian people have suffered at the hands of a brutal dictator for too long.”
This is the first direct assault on the Damascus government since the beginning of that country’s bloody civil war in 2011.
US Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) said in a statement, “I salute the skill and professionalism of the US Armed Forces who carried out tonight’s strikes in Syria. 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. Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action. For that, he deserves the support of the American people.”
President Trump said in a statement, “It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. 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.”
Fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missiles were targeted at an airbase at Shayrat, located outside Homs. The Administration claims that this base was used to launch the chemical weapons attack on Syrian rebels on Tuesday that reportedly killed 72 people, many of them civilians, including children. The missiles targeted the base’s airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, officials at the Pentagon said. The Pentagon says that they tracked the airplanes that launched the chemical weapons airstrike to and from this base.
Pentagon spokesman Capain Jeff Davis said that initial indications were that the strike had “severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment … reducing the Syrian Government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons.”
The US strikes were launched from two warships based in the eastern Mediterranean, the USS Porter and the USS Ross.
The US has over ten thousand troops in Syria and Iraq including: special forces, the Marines, and US Army Rangers supporting the war against ISIS.
President Obama wanted to remove Syrian President Assad from power, a position that the Trump Administration was not committed to. That may have changed following this chemical attack. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said of Assad, “There’s no role for him to govern the Syrian people.”
After an earlier chemical weapons attack against Syrian rebels in 2013, the Assad government agreed to destroy his chemical weapons stockpiles (stockpiles originally manufactured by the Saddam Hussein government in Iraq) and to never use them again. Tuesday’s attack was in direct violation of that agreement as well as international agreements on banning the manufacture and use of chemical weapons going all the way back to the end of World War I.
(Original reporting by the Hill and Fox News contributed to this report)