Syria: President Trump ordered a military attack against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday, joining allies Britain and France in launching missile strikes in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus last weekend that killed more than 40 people.
Britain and France joined the United States in the strikes in a coordinated operation that was intended to show Western resolve in the face of what the leaders of the three nations called persistent violations of international law. Mr. Trump characterized it as the beginning of a sustained effort to force Assad to stop using banned weapons, but only ordered a limited one-night operation that hit three targets.
Trump, speaking from the White House late Friday, said the attack last weekend was “a significant escalation” of Assad’s use of chemical weapons and warranted a stepped-up international response.
The alleged chemical weapons use was not the work of “a man,” Trump said. It was “the crimes of a monster instead.”
While he has talked as recently as last week about pulling American troops out of Syria, the president vowed to remain committed to the goal of preventing further attacks with deadly poisons. “We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” Trump said.
The attack involved munitions fired from aircraft and naval vessels, including about 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles, according to a Defense Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational details. The Pentagon also employed the B-1 strategic bomber.