As soon as President Donald Trump authorized the US warships to attack on Syria, dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched at a Syrian Airfield on Friday, marking what ostensibly is the first intentional US military action against government forces during Syria’s six-year civil war. Although the President was against military action aimed at Assad’s forces. What led the President to change his mind? Here are some key reasons why
The President’s change of mind can be traced back to Tuesday’s chemical weapon attacks that killed dozens of people, including children in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Army bombers attacked the center of rebel-held Khan Sheikhoun that day, witnesses said. People around the initial blast area appeared to be exposed to neurotoxic agents “such as sarin gas or similar compounds,” international aid group Doctors Without Borders said, and a few hours later clinics and hospitals where the victims of the attacks were being treated were hit, Idlib health officials said, although the gas could not be identified. At least 86 people including 26 children were victims of these attacks.
Although the Syrian government denied using chemical weapons, but several countries including the United States believe that they are responsible. Although the United States is trying to determine whether others were complicit. For example, the Pentagon is looking at whether a Russian warplane dropped the bomb that hit the hospital, and whether the purpose of the strike was to destroy evidence of the chemical
attack, a senior US defense official said Friday. And the international community’s failure to stop bloodshed came up after images of lifeless children from the attacks came up. In one particular photo, a sobbing father clung to bodies of his 9-month-old twins. Others showed children gasping for breath, along with shell-shocked relatives also affected by the gas.
As the photos circulated on the internet and social media, Trump admitted the images changed his thinking on Syria.
“When you kill innocent children — innocent babies — babies — little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines,” the US leader said.
Until the strike, Trump gave no indication if he will take action or not, and then everything changed. “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in
Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” he said from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
The US missiles struck the Syrian government’s Shayrat air base, where the warplanes believed to have carried out Tuesday’s attack were based, US officials said. Details about how many people died in the US strike were sketchy. Syrian state-run media reported that the strike killed nine people, including four children. Five people were killed in one village near the air base, and four others people died in an another village, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said. Earlier, Syrian military said six people were killed although it was not immediately clear where the military and media toll are the same. The United States started launching strikes in Syria in September 2014 under President Barack Obama, but it says it had targeted only the ISIS terrorist group and not government forces.
The target of the attacks were various items, including petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition, supply bunkers and air defense systems, the Pentagon said.
Syria described the US strike as an “erroneous American strategy.”
“It makes the United States of America a partner of ISIS, Nusra Front and other terrorist organizations who …. have been attacking Syrian army positions and Syrian military bases,” an armed forces’ statement said.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry described the attack as “a pretext promoted by terrorist organizations and its operatives in Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Doha, Ankara, London and Paris and their media outlets.”
Assad called it an “unjust and unabashed assault.”
Russia, Syria’s powerful backup did not have to say much. The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin regards the US strike as “an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law.”
“Vladimir Putin believes that complete disregard for factual information about the use by terrorists of chemical weapons drastically aggravates the situation,” its statement said. Before the strike, Russian officials warned the United States against making any “snap judgments” on Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack.
Other countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia sided with President Trump and Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s Secretary General said the Syrian regime “bears full responsibility” for the US strike.
“Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, cannot go unanswered, and those responsible must be held accountable,” Stoltenberg said.
China, at a UN Security Council meeting Friday, called for nations to use diplomatic channels rather than military action to solve the crisis in Syria. “Military means will not work,” said Liu Jieyi, China’s envoy to the United Nations. “It will only worsen the suffering of the Syrian people.”
One of Assad’s enemies in the civil war, Col. Fateh Hassoun, supported the US action saying
“American and its allies have stood up for the values of freedom and humanity today in Syria. The war criminal Bashar al-Assad understands only the language of force. Today’s airstrikes on regime military assets are a welcome first step, but must now be followed by further action to deter and prevent all
attacks against civilians, and pave the way for a genuine political solution including the departure of Assad.”
Now, remember but one thing. The US said the same things: ‘chemical weapons’ ‘nuclear weapons’ over and over again before finally occupying Libya and Iraq. So do you really think that this time, they’re actually right? I don’t think so.