BREAKING NEWS – US launches airstrikes on Syria: Military fires more than 50 tomahawks on Homs airfield just hours after Trump said ‘something should happen’ following gas-attack atrocity
- The military fired more than 50 tomahawk missiles at al-Shayrat military airfield
- Moves comes just hours after Trump said ‘something should happen’ following gas-attack atrocity
- Trump had been weighing up the possibility of launching military strikes after 72 were killed and countless more were injured in the sarin poison gas attack
- ‘I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. I guess something should happen,’ he said
- Secretary of state Rex Tillerson said earlier today that the U.S. was already exploring the enlistment of an international coalition to oust Assad
America has launched airstrikes against a Syrian air base.
President Trump Official Statement:
The US military fired more than 50 tomahawk missiles at the al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs at 8.45pm (EDT) on Thursday. Officials confirm that no fixed wing aircraft were involved.
The move comes just hours after President Trump denounced this week’s horrific chemical weapons attack as an ‘egregious crime’, saying ‘it shouldn’t have happened. And it shouldn’t be allowed to happen.’
President Trump is expected to give a brief statement from his Mar-a-Lago estate where he is currently entertaining the Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng as part of a two day summit.
U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham released a joint statement saying that the military strikes ‘have sent an important message the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs.’
They added that the administration plans to ‘learn the lessons of history’ and follow the strikes with a ‘new, comprehensive strategy in coordination with our allies and partners to end the conflict in Syria.’
The first measure in such a strategy must be to take Assad’s air force—which is responsible not just for the latest chemical weapons attack, but countless atrocities against the Syrian people—completely out of the fight. We must also bolster support for the vetted Syrian opposition and establish safe zones to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis. As we do, we can and must continue the campaign to achieve ISIS’s lasting defeat.’
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio added that tonight’s strike will ‘hopefully diminish (Assad’s) capacity to commit atrocities against innocent civilians.’
‘President Trump has made it clear to Assad and those who empower him that the days of committing war crimes with impunity are over.’
On Trump’s orders, US warships in the Eastern Mediterranean launched between 50-60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at 3.45am Syrian time, targeting a Syrian government airbase. Officials say the airfield was where the warplanes involved in the gas attack were based.
The strike targeted runway, aircraft and fuel points.
Strikes are over ‘until another decision is made,’ the official said.
Officials added that Trump has consulted key partners in Europe and other allies before he launched the strikes. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin was not among the leaders he spoke with.
Russia now has more than 30 helicopters operating in Syria, including a fleet of around eight Mi-28N Night Hunter and Ka-52 Alligator gunships stationed at its Shayrat airbase southeast of Homs city, according to satellite images posted online by IHS Jane’s analysts.
Trump had been weighing up the possibility of launching military strikes against Syria, after more than 80 were killed and countless more were injured in the sarin poison gas attack.
CNN reported that Trump had been ‘making calls to senior members of Congress saying he is seriously considering something he said he would never do, not that long ago, which is military action in Syria.’
‘What Assad did is terrible,’ the president told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Florida, before he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping this evening.
‘I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. I guess something should happen.’
Secretary of state Rex Tillerson told reporters Thursday that the U.S. had already been exploring the enlistment of an international coalition to oust Syrian Presidnt Bashar al-Assad.
He also described a long-term effort to remove the Syrian leader from power.
‘The process by which Assad would leave,’ Rex Tillerson told reporters, ‘is something that I think requires an international community effort, both to first defeat ISIS within Syria, to stabilize the Syrian country to avoid further civil war, and then to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving.’
Asked if he and Trump planned to organize such a group of nations, Tillerson paused and then said: ‘Those steps are underway.’
Trump also said aboard Air Force One that reports that he has told members of Congress about a plan for military action were inaccurate, according to a television pool report.
CBS News describes a military briefing in Trump’s future as a discussion between the president and Defense Secretary James Mattis that will include talk of cruise missile strikes from U.S. Navy vessels, possibly aimed at command and control headquarters, suspected chemical weapons facilities – and even Syrian military troops.
A Trump administration official who was granted anonymity in order to speak freely told DailyMail.com on Thursday that part of the president’s strategy is to ‘telegraph to Assad – and to Russia – that he’s deadly serious.’
It also may be intended to rattle a saber in the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose army also operates out of Syria in defense of Assad’s regime.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to meet with Putin next week in Moscow.
Trump said Wednesday during a Rose Garden press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah that his view of how to handle the Syrian crisis changed when he saw the impact of the ‘heinous’ chemical attack on small children.
‘Yesterday’s chemical attack, a chemical attack that was so horrific in Syria against innocent people, including women, small children and even beautiful little babies – their deaths were an affront to humanity,’ Trump said. source
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