The United States has launched approximately 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles designed to strike Syria within 1 minute of each other. Each missile carried 1000 pounds of explosive.
The target was the Shayrat Airbase in Syrian from which a chemical attack was staged that killed more than 80 people, including 28 children over the last few days. According to an NY Times report, Turkish sources had identified the chemical as Sarin gas, a powerful nerve agent deadly even in low doses, and outlawed by United Nations treaty as a weapon of mass destruction.
Earlier President Trump told reporters “I think what happened in Syria is one of the truly egregious crimes and shouldn’t have happened and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”
Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham said in a joint statement “the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs.”
This is the first U.S. assault directly on the Bashar al-Assad government. The USS Porter and the USS Ross had been training for this mission for the last two days.
It was noted by commentators the base under attack likely has no Russian advisors in residence. The U.S. has about 1000 troops on the ground in Syria at this point, and it has been noted they are at risk.
Syria is a major Russian ally but has been stuck in a quagmire of civil war for many years. Chemical attacks are said to have also happened in 2013, killing over 300 people. A coalition including the United States planned a military “intervention” when, according to Wikipedia “the Syrian government accepted a US–Russian negotiated deal to turn over ‘every single bit’ of its chemical weapons stockpiles for destruction and declared its intention to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.” Apparently they did not hand all of it over.
Author’s commentary: This was a strong action by Trump that sets the stage for future actions. Remember he said he would not announce attacks before they happened like the previous administration did. I have no doubt this was a complete surprise and resulted in the complete destruction of the Syrian base.
I doubt it will be covered by the liberal media, but the recent attacks can be laid at the feet of the Obama administration, which should have ensured that all of the chemical weapons were accounted for.
Its not tough to predict the immediate Russian reaction, vigorous protests and dramatic gestures. I believe it will stop short of military action, especially if Trump (in typical Trump fashion) doubles down on his actions. Russia may not be so upset in actuality since there is little chance chemical attacks were sanctioned by its advisors. These attacks were just plain stupid.
Trump will have to be prepared for independent Syrian reactions. It is hard to say whether they will be supported by Russia or not. I do not expect direct Russian reprisals.
Last thought – North Korea should be watching this closely.