Washington: The United States on Friday fired around 59 Tomahawk missiles, targeted at a Syrian base in retaliation to the deadly sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhun in Idlib that claimed almost 86 lives, out of which 27 where children.
The Donald Trump administration confirmed the attack, even as Russia warned the United States of “negative consequences” if it launched an attack on Syria.
Despite the threat, the US went ahead and blasted a Syrian air base in Shayrat with cruise missiles after the tragic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun on civilians.
The attack comes after autopsies of the deceased confirmed that a deadly component found in Sarin gas was used by the Bashal Al-Assad government on rebel forces earlier this week during the attack.
US President Donald Trump on Friday confirmed that he had order the air strike in Syria after the attack, after he initially condemned the attack, saying “something should be done.”
It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Donald Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president.
The surprise strike that took place last night marked a striking reversal for Trump, who warned as a candidate against the US getting pulled into the Syrian civil war, now in its seventh year.
But the president appeared moved by the photos of children killed in the chemical attack, calling it a “disgrace to humanity” that crossed “a lot of lines.”
About 60 US Tomahawk missiles, fired from warships in the Mediterranean Sea, targeted an air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that American officials believe Syrian government aircraft launched with a nerve agent, possibly sarin.
The president did not announce the attacks in advance, though he and other national security officials ratcheted up their warnings to the Syrian government throughout yesterday.
“I think what happened in Syria is one of the truly egregious crimes and shouldn’t have happened and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” Trump told reporters traveling on Air Force One to Florida, where he was holding a two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The strike came as Trump was hosting Xi in meetings focused in part on another pressing US security dilemma: North Korea’s nuclear program. Trump’s actions in Syria could signal to China that the new president isn’t afraid of unilateral military steps. Even if key nations like China are standing in the way.
Earlier, there were efforts to avert a clash between the Russia and the western countries as 10 Security Council countries circulated a compromise resolution demanding a full investigation of the suspected chemical attack in Syria.
However, the draft floated in a closed door meeting of the 15-member council on Syria was rejected by Russia as “categorically unacceptable” and floated a new draft of its own.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had earlier said that Washington is “considering an appropriate response” to the chemical attack in Syria, while calling for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.
“We are considering an appropriate response for this chemical weapons attack which violates all previous UN resolutions, violates international norms and long-held agreements between parties, including the Syrian regime, the Russian Government, and all other members of the UN Security Council,” Tillerson told reporters at the West Palm Beach airport in Florida.
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