United States Conducts Targeted Military Strike on Airfield in Syria in Response to Recent Chemical Weapon Attack

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President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida,, April 6, 2017, after the U.S. launched military airstrikes in Syria in response to recent chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians.
President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, April 6, 2017, after the U.S. launched military airstrikes in Syria in response to recent chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians.

United States Conducts Targeted Military Strike on Airfield in Syria in Response to Recent Chemical Weapon Attack

At the direction of President Trump, U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against a Syrian Air Force airfield today at about 8:40 p.m. EDT (4:40 a.m., April 7, in Syria). The strike targeted Captain Airfield in Homs governorate, and was in response to the Syrian government's chemical weapons attack April 4 in Khan Captain, which killed and injured hundreds of innocent Syrian people, including women and children.

In a statement following the launch of this airstrike in Syria, President Trump said, “I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. 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.” In his remarks, President Trump also called on all civilized nations to join the United States in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end all forms of terrorism.


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to the news media at the Palm Beach International Airport, April 6, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Following the airstrike, Secretary Tillerson delivered remarks with National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster on the situation to share background information on the President’s statements and why these airstrike in Syria was employed. Secretary Tillerson noted, “It’s important to recognize that as Assad has continued to use chemical weapons in these attacks with no response -- no response from the international community -- that he, in effect, is normalizing the use of chemical weapons, which may then be adopted by others.  So it’s important that some action be taken on behalf of the international community to make clear that the use of chemical weapons continues to be a violation of international norms.”

The Secretary shared that there are a number of elements that called for the military action taken on April 7, stating, “We feel that the strike itself was proportional because it was targeted at the facility that delivered this most recent chemical weapons attack.  And in carrying this out, we coordinated very carefully with our international partners in terms of communicating with them around the world, and I would tell you that the response from our allies as well -- in Europe as well as in the region in the Middle East has been overwhelmingly supportive of the action we’ve taken.”

Pentagon Spokesman Captain Jeff Davis also addressed the United States’ strike in Syria, adding that the United States is assessing the results of the strike. He said, “Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Captain Airfield, reducing the Syrian Government's ability to deliver chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated.”

The United States’ military action followed condemnation in the aftermath of the chemical weapons attacks from U.S. officials, including President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at an emergency session of the UN Security Council.

Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.

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