Trump ... first direct military action.
TRUMP STRIKES: US launches attack on Syria air base
WASHINGTON, 21 days ago
The United States launched a major missile attack against an air base in Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town earlier in the week which killed scores of people.
Fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from two US Navy ships in the Mediterranean, the Pentagon said.
The attack is the first direct military action Washington has taken against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime and could escalate the US military campaign in the region, a CNN report said.
President Donald Trump said they hit a base from which the Syrian government launched Tuesday's chemical attack.
Russia has condemned the US strike. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, called it "an act of aggression against a sovereign nation".
The Pentagon said the Russian military, which supports Syrian government forces, had been informed ahead of the US action, a BBC report said.
It said missiles fired from Navy destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross had targeted aircraft, aircraft shelters, storage areas, ammunition supply bunkers, air defence systems, and radars at Shayrat airfield in western Homs province.
The Pentagon added that the strike was intended "to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again".
"Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian Government's ability to deliver chemical weapons," the Pentagon said.
In a statement, Trump said Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.
"Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror," he said justifying the missile attack.
"Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.
There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council.
"Years of previous attempts at changing Assad's behaviour have all failed and failed very dramatically. As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilise, threatening the United States and its allies.
"Tonight I call on all civilised 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," he said.