PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – The Pentagon is assessing the results of a U.S. military strike on Syria in response to a deadly chemical attack earlier this week that killed more than 80 civilians.
For years, as a private citizen and on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump insisted that the US. should stay our of Syria. But after seeing images of innocent children killed in the most recent chemical attack, he was moved to action.
After huddling with his national security advisers at his Mar-a-Lago Resort in Palm Beach, he made a decision.
“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” said Trump addressing the media Thursday night.
Two U.S. Navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea fired a total of 59 Tomahawk missiles at the airbase in central Syria.
“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” said Trump.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has denied carrying out the chemical attack. He said chemical agents were released when Syrian warplanes hit a rebel stockpile hit in conventional strikes.
A report on Syrian state television called the missile strike an “act of outrageous aggression” but stopped short of calling it an act of war. Russia’s response was more critical.
The Kremlin has aligned itself with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Friday morning they condemned the attack, calling it a violation of international law.
“The actions taken today by the U.S.A. further destroy Russian-American relations,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Friday morning. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign minister claims the airstrike was planned before Tuesday’s chemical attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement that Putin believes President Trump ordered the strikes under a “far-fetched pretext.”
The Pentagon said the Kremlin was notified in advance, in multiple conversations, about the attack before it was launched. The Syrian military says seven military members were killed and several were wounded in the attack on the base.