Dubai – Finally, the US military launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield late on Thursday, according to media reports.
It’s the first direct American assault on the government of President Bashar Al Assad since that country’s civil war began six years ago.
The operation following the Trump administration authorised in retaliation for a chemical attack killing scores of civilians this week, dramatically expands US military involvement in Syria and exposes the United States to heightened risk of direct confrontation with Russia and Iran, both backing Assad in his attempt to crush his opposition.
A statement by Syria’s military said the US “aggression” had killed at least six people and indirectly aided militant factions such as the Islamic State by weakening Syrian forces. Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that at least nine civilians, including four children, were killed near the air base.
Russia announced it was pulling out of a pact with Washington to share information about warplane missions over Syria, where a US-led coalition is also waging airstrikes on Islamic State targets.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council and his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the UD missile strikes “violations of the norms of international law, and under a far-fetched pretext.”
Trump claimed that the strike was in the “vital national security interest” of the United States and called on “all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria. And also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.”
“We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world,” he continued. “We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed and we hope that as long as America stands for justice then peace and harmony will in the end prevail.”