Airstrike on Syria

Jordan Weiss '19, Staff Writer

Since the start of the Syrian civil war seven years ago, the Syrian government run by President Bashar al-Assad, has been initiating chemical attacks on the Syrian people to repress the rebellion. In 2013, the United States involved itself in the prevention of the chemical warfare in the Syrian civil war. The United States attacked the Syrian government multiple times in response to their chemical attacks on civilians, one of the most recent responses being an air-strike on April 13, 2018.

After reports blaming Syrian President al-Assad of leading a chemical attack on civilians outside of Damascus, resulting in 40 fatalities, President Trump insisted that al-Assad face consequences. President Trump looked to Britain and France to assist in the air attack, and the countries agreed. The goal was to illustrate the French, British, and American leaders as a united and powerful force against the Syrian government’s terrorism and their violations of international laws. President Trump wanted to ban al-Assad from using illegal weapons, and ordered a three-target, overnight air strike. The Syrian president appeared undeterred and calmly responded with indifference to the attack over Twitter.

Russia and Iran, allies to the Syrian government, have been supplying Syria with weapons for years. Those two countries cautioned the United States not to get involved any further, or else they would respond with force.  In response to that threat, President Trump promised to withdraw American troops from Syria, but insisted on continuing to prevent chemical attacks. It was decided that air strikes would not be used unless the Syrian president initiated more chemical attacks against his people.

The air strikes hit three of al-Assad’s chemical weapons facilities, one in the capital of Damascus and two west of Homs. Residents of Damascus recall hearing the bombs soar through the air and explode in the city. Syrian news stations referred to the bombings as American aggression. President Trump reached out to Russian and Iranian delegates to insist they force al-Assad to cease using chemical weapons against his people, but he was answered with sharp words and threats of backlash should the United States continue their involvement in Syria.

This recent  airstrike was the second time in his presidency that Donald Trump ordered airstrikes in response to Syrian chemical attacks. However, unlike the previous airstrike, the first airstrike of April 2017 had support from the French and British. Leaders of both countries expressed their frustration and disapproval with the Syrian government’s use of chemical warfare.