Note: This article has been updated to reflect Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford’s comments on the Syrian missile strikes.
President Trump addressed the nation and the world in a televised news conference Friday night and announced that the United States was carrying out strategic strikes on Syria with Britain and France as he was speaking.
The strikes, which contained nearly double the amount of missiles as the 2017 Syrian strike, is in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gassing entire families to death last weekend in Douma and East Ghouta.
Groups in the area, which put Assad’s chemical gas attack death toll at more than 70 people, said many residents were hiding in cellars, suffocating from poison gas.
There are images and videos emerging of explosions in Damascus, the Syrian capital.
Trump stated: “I ordered the United States Armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad.”
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis held a press conference an hour after President Trump, and he stated that Assad’s actions were inexcusable. He also laid out the Constitutional authority that the President had to order the strike.
Mattis said that “clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year.”
Mattis also made it clear that this is a one-time event and there are no other strikes planned at this time.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford took the podium after Mattis and said that the targets in the strike were associated with the Assad regime’s chemical weapons program and other strategic assets. He also noted that the 2017 strike on Syria, also for gassing its own people, was on a single target – a Syrian air base, whereas this current strike was on multiple targets.
Dunford also said that manned aircraft were involved in the strike but that he would not elaborate further on that until the morning.
Russia was not notified of the strike nor did the Coalition coordinate with Russia.
There are no reports of U.S. casualties at the moment.
President Trump also directly addressed Russia and Iran, the two large enablers of Syria’s dictator, Assad, and asked them what kind of nation wants to be associated with murderous dictators who kill their own people.
Is has been reported that the viral videos of children suffering and dying from the gas greatly affected the President.
Trump also said that he hopes the strikes will “establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons.”
He continued: “The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic.”
“We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” Trump said.
A year ago in 2017, President Trump gave the order to hit Syria with 59 missile strikes in response to Syria’s Assad gassing his own people. (Click to Source)
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