By Muhammad Siddiqui
U.S., British and French forces launched a joint airstrike campaign in Syria the morning of April 14, hitting three suspected chemical weapons facilities, according to The Guardian.
A week prior, on April 7, reports began to emerge of a chemical attack in Douma, a suburb of Damascus. After reviewing many corroborating reports, photos and videos of suffocated civilians with chemical burns, a report published by the French government concluded the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the attacks, according to USA Today.
“The opposition rebel force does not operate helicopters nor does it use barrel bombs,” said Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the United Nations, according to USA Today. “No other groups but the Assad regime could have carried out this attack.”
In reaction to the chemical attack on Syrian civilians, Donald Trump tweeted a warning of the strikes to come on April 11.
“Get ready Russia,” Trump warned in the tweet. “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
The primary targets of the strikes were three chemical weapons facilities, according to USA Today. Two facilities were in Homs, used for weapon storage, and another facility was in Damascus, where research and development of Syrian chemical weapons was suspected to be taking place.
More than 100 cruise missiles were fired by the U.S., France and Britain, none of which were intercepted despite claims to the contrary from Russian and Syrian media, according to The Guardian.
The U.S. delivered a warning to Russia prior to the strikes in an attempt to give the Russian and Syrian armies time to remove their troops from the area, according to The Independent.
Russia, a longtime ally of Assad, expressed concern over the strikes, calling them “an act of aggression against a sovereign state,” according to a statement by President Vladimir Putin.
American reactions to the attacks are mixed. While some Republican party members praised President Trump for the strikes, Democrats have not been as thrilled, according to the The New York Times. Despite the division along party lines, the Pentagon remains satisfied with the outcome of the attacks.
“We took every measure and precaution to strike what we targeted and we successfully hit every target,” said Dana White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman, according to The Guardian. “We do not seek conflict in Syria but we cannot allow such grievous violations of international law.”