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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

April 22, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

National Recap: U.S. military launches airstrikes against Syria

The U.S. military led an attack on Syria with a coordinated missile strike with U.K. and French forces on April 14.

The attacks came after a report, released on April 8, claimed that dozens of Syrians had died as a result of a government-orchestrated chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held enclave in Ghouta, near Damascus. The death toll reports for the chemical attacks have varied, with the Syrian Civil Defense, a pro-opposition group also known as the White Helmets, reporting at least 42 fatalities.

The missile strikes were targeting three Syrian chemical weapons facilities. U.S., British and French forces released 105 missiles on a scientific research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs and a storage facility and command post near Homs.

The Russian military has claimed that Syria’s air defenses shot down a number of the missiles launched by Western forces, but the U.S. Department of Defense reported that none of its missiles were downed during the attack.

Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, told a group of Russian lawmakers on April 15 that the missile strikes were an act of aggression.

“From the point of view of the president, this was aggression, and we share this position,” Russian lawmaker Sergei Zheleznyak said to Russia’s TASS news agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that there will be consequences for the attack and that they could “have a destructive effect on the entire system of international relations.” Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., released a statement on Facebook on April 13 and echoed Putin’s warnings, saying that Russia had been left unheard.

“A predesigned scenario is being implemented,” Antonov said. “Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences. Insulting the president of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible. The U.S. — the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons — has no moral rights to blame other countries.”

The United Nations Security Council has rejected Russia’s drafted resolution that would condemn “the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the U.S. and its allies in violation of international law and the U.N. Charter.”

President Donald Trump tweeted on the morning of April 14 that the attack was a “perfectly executed strike.”

“Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military,” Trump said on Twitter. “Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”

Meaghan McElroy can be reached at mmcelroy@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @meaghan_mcelroy