US President Donald Trump orders strike against Syrian airbase as a response to chemical weapons attack but Russia deems it an ‘act of aggression’
Following an order the United States forces fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week’s gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians, U.S. officials said.
It was the first direct U.S. assault on the Syrian government and Donald Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming country’s leader.
The strikes hit the government-controlled Shayrat airbase in central Syria, from where U.S. officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the sarin gas Tuesday had taken off.
The 59 Tomahawk missiles launched from the USS Ross and USS Porter in the Mediterranean Sea hit Syria at 3:45 a.m. local time.
According to President Trump, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad “launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians using a deadly nerve agent,” in a recorded statement released after the cruise missiles became public knowledge.
“There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council.”
Talal Barazi, governor of Syria’s Homs province, told The Associated Press that the recent US attack killed some Syrians and wounded others. He didn’t give exact numbers.
“I don’t believe it will be the last,” in reference to the strike, but stressed, “Syrian leadership and Syrian policy will not change,” Governor Barazi said.
Meanwhile, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the early Friday missile attack damaged over a dozen hangars, a fuel depot and an air defence base.
Getting the side of US rival, Russia, Kremlin spokesperson said Russian president Vladimir Putin sees the airstrikes as an act of “aggression against a sovereign nation,” with Iran saying the “unilateral action is dangerous, destructive and violates the principles of international law.”
Furthermore, the attack pushed the Russian parliamentarian to call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday.
Britain, Australia, Israel and Saudi Arabia expressed support for the military action, with France saying it was informed ahead of time that the U.S. would act.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Global Affairs said Canada supported “efforts to stop these atrocities,” with more comment to come Friday.
“Canada continues to condemn in the strongest of terms chemical weapons attacks against Syrian civilians. We have been in touch with our U.S. counterparts,” the statement read.