US Missile Launch on Syria: And what you need to know about it.

Margaret Michalak, Writer

After two days of serious deliberations, and two meetings with his top national security advisors, in the early morning of April 7th President Trump issued a missile launch into Syria. In a televised speech he said that “no child of God should ever suffer,” referring to the chemical weapons attack the Syrian government used on its own people that resulted in the deaths of 86 innocent civilians (and among those, 27 children).

In the attack, three different types of gasses were suspected to have been used; mustard gas, sarin gas and VX. When the Syrian civil war first started in 2011, President Assad pledged he would never use chemical warfare against his own people. However, it is apparent that the pledge he made then means nothing now. Investigators also believe that in the same year of his pledge he was also in the process of developing different types of chemical warfare. It was in 2012 that the former president, Barack Obama, created his red line, meaning if the Syrian government used any form of chemical gasses on their people then United States military would intervene. Mr. Trump seems to have agreed with this policy, as this was the new president’s first attack on another country while being in office. Trump felt that the chemical attacks crossed “many, many lines” of humanity. The President believes that it is the United State’s and all other civilized nations’ duty to help relieve Syria from the bloody civil war that has been damaging their country since 2011. During a recent conference he stated: “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.” Chemical warfare is a torturous method to use in war because it issues a slow, painful death. The Syrian government claimed that the attack was meant for a hospital linked back to Al Qaeda but evidently ended up killing many women and children living in the country.

The governor of Syria, Talal Barazi, reported that there had in fact been deaths from these missile strikes but he gave no numbers of casualties. However, he does believe that the amount of people killed was a low number. The 59 missiles were launched from the USS Porter and Ross, a United States base in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and struck an airfield in Syria where warplanes used in the chemical attacks were being stored. The missiles destroyed aircrafts, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems and radar control towers that aided the Syrian government in the attacks.

Unfortunately, the missile attacks may have worn down an already thin relationship between the United States and Russia. U.S. military officials said they informed their Russian counterparts of the impending attack in an effort to avoid any accident involving Russian forces. However, Russia’s Deputy U.N. ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, warned that any negative consequences from the strikes would be on the “shoulders of those who initiated such a doubtful and tragic enterprise.” The Pentagon spokesman, confirmed that “there are Russians at the base,” but said they had been warned “multiple times” to leave. He did not know whether Russian aircraft were at the base when the missiles hit.  President Vladimir V. Putin’s office called the Tomahawk cruise missile strike on Syria a violation of international law and a “significant blow” to the Russian-American relationship, while Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev said it had “completely ruined” it. For now it is a waiting game to hear back about any casualties the attacks could have had on Russia and what the consequences will be. American officials have yet to release any reaction from Mr. Assad or his allies in Russia.

There are still many things that are unknown about this attack. Whether it will be of help to Syria or make things worse, whether Russia will react angrily, and whether this means the United States will have full involvement in the Syrian civil war, are all things that the public is waiting to discover. As of right now, this was a “one-off” event, meaning no further strikes have been planned.

We can only hope that there will be no more chemical warfare used in Syria, but until then, it is important for all Americans to continue to read and watch the news while we await a response from the Middle East and more information from the White House.