WASHINGTON, D.C.– The United States launched a military strike on a Syrian government airbase on Thursday, April 6th, a U.S. official has confirmed. The move is in retaliation for the country’s chemical weapon attack on civilians earlier this week.
President Donald Trump ordered U.S. warships to launch between 50 and 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles. According to a U.S. official, the airstrikes have been completed. The Tomahawk missiles were fired at Shayrat Air Base in Homs Province.
Officials say that multiple targets were struck at the base. The missiles were launched between 7:40 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. Central Time.
The airfield that was targeted is the same one from which a weapons attack, using Sarin gas, was launched on Tuesday. The death toll from the Tuesday attack has climbed to at least 86 civilians, including 30 children and 20 women, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The strikes are the first direct military action the U.S. has taken against the Syrian government and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s six-year civil war. The U.S. first launched airstrikes in Syria in September 2014 under former President Obama. However, those strikes targeted ISIS, not Syrian government forces.
President Trump is currently in Florida, meeting with the president of China at his Mar-a-Lago estate. He reportedly met with his national security team before dinner Thursday, where he made the decision to launch the biggest military action of his presidency. He sat through dinner with the president of China as action was underway.
At a press conference Wednesday, President Trump said the attack “crossed a lot of lines for me,” adding, “When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies, with a gas that is so lethal– people were shocked to hear what gas it was– that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines.”