U.S.-Led Coalition Launches Attacks On Syria
President Trump announced Friday night that
the U.S. and its allies had launched attacks
on Syria in response to an alleged chemical
weapons attack last week by President Bashar
In televised remarks from the White House,
Trump said the attacks were underway and that
Great Britain and France were also taking
“We are prepared to sustain this response
until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited
chemical agents,” the president said.
The president did not provide details of the
military action, but the Pentagon said the
U.S., British and French naval and air forces
struck three sites linked to the country’s
chemical weapons program.
News agencies reported large explosions in
the capital, Damascus, but there was no immediate
word on any casualties or damage.
About an hour after the president spoke, Defense
Secretary Jim Mattis said the airstrikes were
“Right now we have no additional attacks planned,”
Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. used its regular
communication channels with the Russians to
tell them in advance that U.S. aircraft would
be in the region.
But the U.S. did not warn the Russians about
the targets, he added.
The U.S. has about 2,000 troops in northeastern
Syria, where they have partnered with Kurdish
fighters against the Islamic State.
The president again said that he supported
the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
“America does not seek an indefinite presence
in Syria,” he said.
“The United States will be a partner and a
But the fate of the region lies in the hands
of its own people.”
Trump also addressed the governments of Iran
and Russia: “I ask what kind of a nation wants
to be associated with the mass murder of innocent
men, women and children.
The nations of the world can be judged by
the friends they keep.
No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting
rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous
The suspected chemical attack occurred on
April 7 in the Damascus suburb of Douma, which
had been held by rebel forces for years in
Syria’s continuing civil war.
Civilians and rebel forces abandoned Douma
following the latest attack.
“This massacre was a significant escalation
in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that
very terrible regime,” the president said
of the April 7 incident.
Referring to Assad, Trump said, “These are
not the actions of a man.
They are crimes of a monster instead.”
In the days leading up to the U.S. attack,
Russia had warned that it would defend its
troops in Syria.
This has raised fears of a possible direct
clash of U.S. and Russian forces.
The U.S. strike comes almost exactly a year
after a previous U.S. strike, which was also
in response to the Syrian regime’s alleged
use of chemical weapons.
In that strike, on April 7, 2017, the U.S.
launched 59 cruise missiles on a Syrian military
However, over the past year, Assad’s regime
has improved its position in much of the country
as it battles various rebel groups.
His government controls most of the major
cities, which are located in the western part
of the country.