During a statement on Friday, President Trump announced that he ordered “precision strikes” on Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities, a “combined operation” with France and the UK.
Trump said, “I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway.”
He added, “The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States. The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power, military, economic, and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”
Trump further criticized Iran and Russia for their support of Assad, saying, “[W]hat kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children? The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants, and murderous dictators. In 2013, President Putin and his government promised the world that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise. Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace. Hopefully, someday, we’ll get along with Russia, and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. ”
He also stated that the US doesn’t seek “an indefinite presence in Syria, under no circumstances. As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home.” Trump added that the Middle East’s fate ultimately lies with its people.
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett