Time: 9:56 a.m. CEST
The United States military used 59 cruise missiles to target Syrian military airfield late on Thursday, the Washington Post reports, as President Donald Trump ordered the strikes are in “vital interest” to the U.S. Almost four years after former U.S. President Barack Obama pulled from the the previously spoken idea to strike Syria’s government target, President Trump decides to launch limited strikes on Syria.
The missiles launch was of the eastern Mediterranean Sea early Friday in Europe. The United States Department of Defense shows tomahawk missiles being fired at Syria from the U.S.S. Porter, a U.S. Navy Destroyer, early Friday, the Associated Press published,
The strikes are the first direct American assault to President Bashar al-Assad government and military in the enduring civil war that ragged Syria in fights and caused millions to flee their homes. The Times comments, the operation, “dramatically expands U.S. military involvement in Syria and exposes the United States to heightened risk of direct confrontation with Russia and Iran, both backing Assad in his attempt to crush his opposition.”
The Associated Press reports that the Syrian government said “at least six people were killed, and several wounded in the attack. Activists say the air base, hangars, fuel depot and aircraft were badly damaged. A government official said a fire raged for over an hour.”
Announcing the strikes, Trump called “all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria.” Trump said it is in vital interest of the U.S. to prevent and deter “this spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” Trump explained, “There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention.”
The United Kingdom government says US missile strike on Syria is “appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack.”
Even though some countries supported the American intervention, at least verbally, this move could endanger possibility for the restoring U.S.-Russia relations, already shaken up, not only with global issues, but with the possible meddling of Russia in the last-year presidential election. Recent airstrike in Syria caused strong reaction in Moscow with official Kremlin reacting to the news.
Russian news agencies quoted Kremlin as saying, President Vladimir Putin believes that “U.S. cruise missile strikes on a Syrian air base broke international law and have seriously hurt U.S.-Russia relations.” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said this step “will inflict major damage on U.S.-Russia ties.” “Putin views the U.S. strikes on Syria as aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law and on a made-up up pretext,” Peskov said.
Despite the issues that Russia sees with the airstrikes, Turkey that shares long border with Syria greeted the U.S. move and called international community to sustain its stance against the “barbarity” of the Syrian government. Deputy Prime minister Numan Kurtulmus commented on April 7, as the Hurryiet Daily News on English reports.
“As our our president put it clearly, we do not only want to hear words, but we want to see action. In this regard, the U.S. strike on the military base is significant and meaningful. However, the international community should clearly sustain its stance against such barbarism of the al-Assad regime until he is unable to harm his own people anymore. Therefore, we welcome this action but we think that the al-Assad regime must completely be punished in the international field,” Kurtulmus said.
But Iran strongly condemned U.S. missle strikes against a Syrian airbase, agency ISNA quoted Iran’s Foreign Ministry. “Iran strongly condemns any such unilateral strikes … such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria … and it will complicate the situation in Syria and the region,” ISNA quoted Bahram Qasemi as saying.
In Syria, the reactions are conflicting and while some support the U.S. steps, others openly condemned it, or feel uncomfortable how the militant groups would react to the strikes. Former U.S. President Obama ordered strikes in Syria, but only to target the Islamic State group. That strikes started on September 23, 2014, when the United States and five Arab countries started air strike campaign in Syria on targets related to the Islamic State group.
On February 23, 2017 Syria peace talks resumed in Geneva, but on April 4, 2017, “the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that airstrikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke. At least 70 people died, including 10 children and dozens are injured in a suspected chemical attack, the activists say.”
In late June, 2014, “a task force that worked on the removing the last eight percent of declared chemical weapons precursors from Syria completed their work State Department announced on Monday, June 23, 2014. Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations Joint Mission removed 100 percent of the declared chemicals under the agreement of last year reached between the U.S. and Russian.”