The United States launched 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the U.S.S. Porter and U.S.S. Ross early Friday morning targeting the Shayrat base that was used to store and deploy chemical weapons in Syria.
The strikes were in response to chemical attacks carried out by Syrian president Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s regime on Tuesday in the region of Idlib. Over 100 died as a result of the attack, with hundreds more injured. Turkey’s Health Ministry confirmed on Thursday that sarin gas was used after it performed an autopsy on three of the victims from the attack.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced the strikes Thursday night, stating that they were a matter of “vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” citing Syria’s violation of the Chemical Weapons Conventions as well as ignoring of the United Nations Security Council.
Trump called on “civilized nations” to “join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and types.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed Israel’s support for the U.S. strikes carried out in Syria on Friday.
“In both word and action, President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere.”
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman echoed the prime minister stating on Friday that the strikes sent a “necessary message from the entire free world, led by the United Stated, that it will note tolerate the war crimes of Bashar Assad’s regime against innocent civilians.”
The Israel Defense Forces also confirmed that the Pentagon informed Israel of the strikes ahead of time.
Strong support for the strikes was expressed from the West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, with world leaders expressing support for action against Assad’s regime. Russia and Iran, however, condemned the attacks.
Russia deemed the strikes as illegal and as a “serious blow” to US-Russia relations, while insisting the Syrian army has no chemical weapons. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “This move by Washington has dealt a serious blow to Russian-US relations, which are already in a poor state. The Syrian Army has no chemical weapons.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the “presence itself of military personnel from the US and other countries on the territory of Syria without the permission of the government of that country or a resolution of the U.N. Security Council is a gross, clear and in now way justified violation of international law. If before it was explained as a mission in the battle against terrorism, now it is a clear act of aggression against a sovereign Syria. The taking of these actions by the US today yet further undermines Russo-American relations.”
Iran claimed the strikes will strengthen terrorism in Syria.
“The Islamic Republic, as the biggest victim of chemical weapons in modern history, condemns any application of such weapons, regardless of the perpetrators and victims,” Iran’s foreign minister said. “Such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria … and will complicate the situation in Syria and the region.”
Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian, is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.