Trump Launches Airstrike on Syria


Elizabeth Wang, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, April 4th, a chemical attack in northwestern Syria killed nearly seventy civilians. On April 7th, the United States responded by launching a military strike on the Shayrat Syrian air base, the base believed to be housing the warplanes that launched the chemical attacks.

The strike is the first military action executed by the United States against Syria during the reign of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missiles were dispatched during the airstrike that aimed to damage and destroy the petroleum sources, ammunition supply bunkers, aircraft, aircraft shelters, and air defense systems within the base. According to reports from the Pentagon, the strike successfully inflicted damage to Syrian aircraft, infrastructure, and equipment, effectively limiting the Syrian government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons in the future. The strike took place at 8:40 pm ET, a time where there would be minimal activity at the base. Six people were killed during the strike.

President Trump’s decision to launch the strike demonstrated a dramatic shift in his position regarding interference with Syria. Trump strongly opposed taking military action against the Syrian regime during his campaign, but allegedly changed his mind after seeing images of the chemical attack.

The airstrike substantially escalated the United States’ military interactions with the Syrian region and could have been interpreted by the Syrian government as an act of war. It may have also damaged the US’s relationship with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin dubbed the United States airstrike an “act of aggression against a sovereign state” that has “dealt a serious blow to US-Russian relations.” Putin views the strike as an unwarranted pretext merely to increase United States interference within Southwestern Asia.

Dispute remains as to whether or not the airstrike was justified. The Syrian military denied using chemical weapons, attributing the mass destruction to rebel citizens. At the same time, President Trump maintains his position that the attack on innocent people was “reprehensible” and cannot be ignored.