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US Missiles Blast Syria; Trump Demands ‘End the Slaughter’

Shared from Militarytimes.com

The United States blasted a Syrian air base with a barrage of cruise missiles Thursday night in fiery retaliation for this week’s gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians.

President Donald Trump cast the U.S. assault as vital to deter future use of poison gas and called on other nations to join in seeking “to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria.”

It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president just over two months ago. The strikes also risk thrusting the U.S. deeper into an intractable conflict that his predecessor spent years trying to avoid.


Announcing the assault from his Florida resort, Trump said there was no doubt Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for the chemical attack, which he said employed banned gases and killed dozens.

“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” Trump declared.

The U.S. strikes — 59 missiles launched from the USS Ross and USS Porter — hit the government-controlled Shayrat air base in central Syria, where U.S. officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off. The U.S. missiles hit at 8:45 p.m. in Washington, 3:45 Friday morning in Syria. The missiles targeted the base’s airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, officials said.

The attack killed some Syrians and wounded others, Talal Barazi, the governor of Syria’s Homs province, told The Associated Press. He didn’t give precise numbers.

Trump ordered the strikes without approval from Congress or the backing of the United Nations. U.S. officials said he had the right to use force to defend national interests and to protect civilians from atrocities.

Syrian state TV reported a U.S. missile attack on a number of military targets and called the attack an “aggression.”

The U.S. assault marked a striking reversal for Trump, who warned as a candidate against the U.S. being pulled into the Syrian civil war that began six years ago. But the president appeared moved by the photos of children killed in the chemical attack, calling it a “disgrace to humanity” that crossed “a lot of lines.”
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