The United States strikes an air base in Syria
Civil war in Syria
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The United States struck Syria on Thursday evening, firing dozens of cruise missiles against a regime air base in response to an alleged chemical attack that Donald Trump called « shame for mankind. »
The strike was waged with « 59 missiles » Tomahawk, a White House official said, pointing out that Washington had targeted the Shayrat air base, which is « associated with the program » chemical weapons of Damascus and « Directly linked » to the « horrible » events of Tuesday.
President Donald Trump said these operations were « in the vital interest of national security » in the United States. Syrian television has called them « aggression ».
At a press conference, President Trump said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Assad « has snatched the lives of defenseless men, women and children » and that the United States « defends justice » after a punitive Syria.
According to a Syrian military source, the American strike on one base caused « losses »
The US also informed Russia of their intentions before the strike.
On April 4, a raid by the Syrian army against the locality of Khan Sheikhoun in northwest Syria caused at least 86 deaths, including 27 children.
The United States accused President Bashar al-Assad’s regime of using a sarin-type neurotoxic agent against this small rebellious city, whose images of dead women and children have shocked the world.
President Trump had threatened since Wednesday to take action against his Syrian counterpart for this « odious » attack, an « affront to humanity. »
Thursday, arriving in Florida to welcome his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, he had still denounced a « shame for humanity » and claimed that « something happens. »
Its head of diplomacy Rex Tillerson had accused « the Syrian regime under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad to be responsible for this attack. » German Chancellor Angela Merkel also pointed to the « Assad regime. »
He later stated that « Russia had failed in its responsibilities in Syria. »
But Russia, allied to Syria, warned the United States just before the strikes.
« Negative Consequences »
After a meeting of the UN Security Council, which had been debating for two days a resolution condemning the attack, Russian Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov warned of « negative consequences » Of American military intervention.
In the summer of 2013, Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, had decided not to hit the Syrian regime after a chemical weapons attack near Damascus that killed over 1,400 people. At the time, real estate tycoon Donald Trump had urged on Twitter Mr. Obama not to intervene in Syria.
Thursday, Rex Tillerson also pleaded for the departure of the Syrian president, after saying the opposite a week ago.
Henceforth, in the eyes of the boss of American diplomacy, « Assad’s role in the future is uncertain and with the acts he has committed, it would seem that he has no role in governing the Syrian people. »
Last Thursday, he and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had seemed to accommodate the retention of the Syrian Head of State, before raising the tone this week.
Former Democratic Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had campaigned for a more aggressive approach to Barack Obama’s administration against the Damascus regime, said he favored strikes to « destroy » Syrian air bases.
Donald Trump, perceived as an isolationist and hostile to American interventionism in the Middle East, acknowledged Wednesday that the chemical attack had « a huge impact » on him and that his « attitude toward Syria and Assad had clearly changed. »
International outrage grew after pictures of children seized with convulsions under their oxygen mask, people lying in the streets and seized with spasms, moss coming out of their mouths. The chemical character of the attack seems to be clarified, even if the circumstances remain controversial.
In Turkey, where many of the injured were evacuated, the first tests « based on patient data suggest that they have been exposed to a chemical agent, » according to the Ministry of Health. Doctors and NGOs such as Médecins sans frontières (MSF) also mentioned the use of « neurotoxic agents », particularly sarin gas.
This gas is odorless and invisible. Even if it is not inhaled, its simple contact with the skin blocks the transmission of nerve impulses and leads to death by cardio-respiratory arrest.
The Syrian regime was accused of using sarin gas on August 21, 2013 in the attack of localities in the hands of rebels on the outskirts of Damascus, which had killed at least 1429, including 426 children, according to the United States.
Syrian diplomat Walid Mouallem reiterated that his country’s army « has not used and will never use » chemical weapons against its people, « not even against terrorists, Designate rebels and jihadists.
According to him, the air force hit « a jihadist-owned ammunition warehouse » containing « chemical substances ». An explanation already put forward by the Russian army but considered « fanciful » by military experts.
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