Trump ordered a strike on Syria in response to a chemical attack a week earlier.
The State Department has proof that Syria was behind the gas attack.
The Pentagon held a press briefing after the strike.
President Trump addressed the nation on Friday night about his decision to order strikes on Syria, following a suspected chemical attack.
My fellow Americans. A short time ago, I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway. We thank them both.
Tonight, I want to speak with you about why we have taken this action. One year ago, Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people. The United States responded with 58 missile strikes that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian air force.
Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians, this time in the town of Douma near the Syrian capital of Damascus. This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons used by that very terrible regime.
The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead.
Following the horrors of World War I a century ago, civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare. Chemical weapons are uniquely dangerous, not only because they inflict gruesome suffering, but because even small amounts can unleash widespread devastation.
The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States.
The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.
I also have a message tonight for the two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime.
To Iran and to Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children? The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep.
No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators. In 2013, President Putin and his government promised the world that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise.
Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace. Hopefully, someday we’ll get along with Russia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not.
I will say this, the United States has a lot to offer with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.
In Syria, the United States, with but a small force being used to eliminate what is left of ISIS, is doing what is necessary to protect the American people. Over the last year, nearly 100 percent of the territory once controlled by the so-called ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq has been liberated and eliminated.
The United States has also rebuilt our friendships across the Middle East. We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing large amounts of money for the resources, equipment and all of the anti-ISIS effort.
Increased engagement from our friends, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and others, can ensure that Iran does not profit from the eradication of ISIS. America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria, under no circumstances.
As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home — and great warriors they are. Looking around our very troubled world, Americans have no illusions. We cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny.
No amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East. It’s a troubled place. We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place.
The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people. In the last century, we looked straight into the darkest places of the human soul. We saw the anguish that can be unleashed and the evil that can take hold.
By the end of World War I, more than one million people had been killed or injured by chemical weapons. We never want to see that ghastly specter return. So today, the nations of Britain, France and the United States of America have marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality.
Tonight I ask all Americans to say a prayer for our noble warriors and our allies as they carry out their missions. We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria.
We pray that God will guide the whole region toward a future of dignity and of peace. And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America.
Thank you and good night. Thank you.
The United States has proof at “a very high level of confidence” that the Syrian government carried out the recent chemical weapons attack in Douma but is still working to identify the mix of chemicals used, the State Department said on Friday.
“We can say that the Syrian government was behind the attack,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a briefing. Asked if the United States had proof of that, she said, “Yes.”
Nauert said a team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would arrive in Syria on Saturday to collect evidence.
Mattis, Dunford Detail Attacks on Syrian Chemical Arsenal
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2018 —
U.S., British and French air and naval forces launched attacks against the Syrian government’s chemical weapon arsenal in retaliation for the use of such weapons on civilians, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon news conference tonight.
“As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime,” the secretary said. “On April 7, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents. We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable.”
President Donald J. Trump ordered the strikes to stop the regime from using such inhumane weapons again. Mattis said stopping the atrocities is in the vital national interests of the United States.
Research and Development Facilities
The strikes hit Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s chemical weapon research, development and production facilities. The strikes tonight were far harder than the ones last year, when the United States launched 58 missiles against the Shayrat air base following a chemical attack.
“Obviously, the Assad regime did not get the message last year,” Mattis said.
The strikes now send a very clear message to Syrian leaders “that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable,” the secretary said.
Mattis emphasized that the strikes were directed against the Syrian regime, and the strike planners went to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. “It is a time for all civilized nations to urgently unite to end the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process,” the secretary said.
The three nations forces were integrated throughout the planning and execution of the operation, Dunford said. “The targets that were struck and destroyed were specifically associated with the Syrian regime chemical weapons program,” the chairman said.
The first target was a scientific research center in the greater Damascus area. The military facility was a center for research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological agents, the general said. The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs. “We assess this was the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment,” he said. “The third target … contained both a chemical weapons storage facility and an important command post.”
The strikes should result in a long-term degradation of Syria’s chemical and biological warfare capabilities, the chairman said. “The strike was not only a strong message to the regime that their actions were inexcusable, but it also inflicted maximum damage without unnecessary risks to civilians,” Dunford said.
The strike was also planned to mitigate the risk to Russian forces that are supporting the Assad regime, the general said.
More than double the amount of ordnance used in last year’s strike was used in this one, Dunford said. He said there were reports of Syrian anti-aircraft actions, but it is too early to assess the effectiveness. There were no allied casualties.
The strike is meant to deter Assad from contemplating another attack, and allied forces are ready to continue the action if Assad continues to use these banned weapons, Mattis said.
— HYGO News (@HygoNews) April 14, 2018