On Thursday night, the United States launched a massive missile attack on al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs, Syria, in response to the Assad regime using chemical weapons on the Syrian people earlier this week. CNN is currently reporting that more than 50 tomahawk missiles were used in the military strike, which is approximately the equivalent of 60,000 pounds of explosives falling in the span of only a minute, and that the bombs were launched from nearby U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea. CNN reports that Russians may have been present at the base when it was struck but also that Russia was warned of the impending strike.
In response to the chemical attack, Trump previously stated the following:
“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. Beyond a red line, many, many lines.”
Many on Twitter are now circulating some old 2013 remarks by Trump, who warned Obama not to attack Syria or “many very bad things will happen” and the U.S. would get nothing from it.
Of course, the Obama administration did end up launching air strikes at Syria but only to combat ISIS forces in the region. This would be the first U.S. attack on Syrian government forces since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011. Before the chemical attack, Trump claimed insinuated that American forces had too much else to focus on and wouldn’t be bothering with the Assad regime and its atrocities — a similar position that Obama took but in a much less tactful way.
A U.S. official confirmed the reports to ABC News, and this strike could be taken as an act of war by the Syrian government. Trump is currently hosting President Xi of China at Mar-A-Lago, and according to CNN’s sources, he met with the national security team — US Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Gen. H.R. McMaster — in advance of his dinner with Xi on Thursday evening.
Before the attack was officially confirmed, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Assad’s future as the Syrian leader was “uncertain”:
“Assad’s role in the future is uncertain and with the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people”
He also stated that steps were already “underway” to form an international coalition that would remove Assad from power.
UPDATE – 10:10pm: Trump addressed the nation following the missile strikes. He (again) placed blame for the chemical attack on Bashar al-Assad: “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.” Here’s a brief clip with full remarks to follow.
— CNN (@CNN) April 7, 2017