DC — The U.S. has launched 59 tomahawk missiles aimed at Syria, and they hit the al-Shayrat airfield near Homs at about 8:45 p.m. Eastern Thursday evening.
The missiles hit infrastructure, aircraft and the runway, according to NBC News. A U.S. military official said the munitions were not aimed at people. There have been no reports indicating whether there were any casualties.
The tomahawk missiles were fired from two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea.
From his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, President Donald Trump said the U.S. strike on Syria was in the “vital national security interest” of the U.S.
The following are President Trump’s remarks from Florida:
My fellow Americans,
On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians using a deadly nerve agent.
Assad choked out the lives of innocent men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.
No child of god should ever suffer such horror.
Tonight 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 U.N. security council.
Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically.
As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.
Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.
We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world.
We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed.
And we hope that as long as America stands for justice that peace and harmony will in the end prevail.
Goodnight, and God bless America and the entire world. Thank you.
The Russians were given advanced warning of the U.S. strike, according to a military official. There were Russians at the base during the strike. The U.S. did not target Russian assets.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said: “Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike … U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield. We are assessing the results of the strike. Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat airfield, reducing the Syrian government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated.”
Russia deputy U.N. envoy Vladimir Safronkov said Thursday there would be “negative consequences” if the U.S. conducted military strikes on Syria following Tuesday’s deadly gas attacks.
“We have to think about negative consequences, negative consequences, and all the responsibility if military action occurred will be on shoulders of those who initiated such doubtful and tragic enterprise,” Safronkov said when reporters asked him about the possibility of U.S. strikes.
Safronkov said such “negative consequences” can be seen in Iraq and Libya.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Russia was “either complicit or incompetent” in its handling of the 2013 agreement designed to stop Assad from keeping chemical weapons stocks.
Tillerson called the strikes “proportionate” and said the U.S. has a “high degree of confidence” that sarin gas was used in an attack in Idlib.
Syrian state TV reported Thursday, “American aggression targets Syrian military targets with a number of missiles.”
Whether it’s a U.S. military attack or a coordinated response from an international coalition, Syria apparently will be paying for its apparent poison gas attack that killed dozens, including many children.
Called a war crime by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the apparent chemical weapons attack killed at least 86 people, including 26 children, in a town in Syria’s Idlib province held by rebels fighting the Bashar al-Assad government.
President Trump previously has said Syria wasn’t a high priority for the U.S., but he abruptly changed his position, calling it a “heinous” act that “crossed a lot of lines for me.”
Late Thursday evening, Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted: “‘Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished’ Proverbs 11:21 #SyriaChemicalAttack.”