By Zachary Sobol
Bashar Al-Assad, the dictator of Syria, used a chemical poison on April 4 to kill at least 69 individuals, including women and children, in the rebel-based town of Khan Sheikhoun, The New York Times reported.
In a response to this attack, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Al Shayrat Airfield, where the Syrian planes took off to deliver the chemical attack, CNN reported.
“The patients are in the corridors and on the floors of the operation rooms, the E.R.s and in the patient rooms. I saw more than 10 deaths due to this attack,” said Mohamad Firas al-Judi, the opposition’s minister of health, in response to the chemical attack, according to The New York Times.
“The symptoms of this chemical attack included suffocation, fluid in the lungs, foam pouring out from the mouth, unconsciousness, spasm and paralysis,” al-Judi said.
A 14-year-old resident of Khan Sheikhoun, Mariam Abu Khalil, left her home in the early morning to study the Quran when she saw an aircraft drop a bomb on a building, according to The New York Times.
In an interview with The New York Times, Khalil said the explosion looked like a yellow mushroom cloud and that “it was like a winter fog.”
President Donald Trump proclaimed his dismay for the chemical attack and responded with a U.S. airstrike on the chemical attack’s launch site.
“I will tell you it’s already happening that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much. 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,” Trump said, according to CNN.
Six people were killed in the air strike at 3:40 a.m. local time on April 6, CNN reported.
“Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” Trump said in a statement once the missile strike was ordered, according to CNN.
The strike targeted aircraft shelters, air defense systems, ammunition bunkers and petroleum storage units, CNN reported.
Russia deemed the attack an “act of aggression,” and Bashar Al-Assad deemed it to be “a disgraceful act (that) can only be described as short-sighted,” according to CNN.
The same source reported that missiles were fired from two U.S. warships, the USS Ross and the USS Porter.
“Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft, and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons,” Captain Jeff Davis, the Pentagon spokesperson, said.
The Tomahawk missile has been used since the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and usually contains a 1,000 pound warhead. The Tomahawk missile does not need a pilot and can be launched from Navy destroyer ships from up to 1,000 miles away, according to The Washington Post.