US Blasts Syria Base With Cruise Missiles In Retaliation To Gas Attack

Sat, 08 Apr 2017 08:58 IST

About 60 US Tomahawk missiles were fired from Mediterranean warships targeting an air base against the gruesome chemical attack on Syrians.

US Blasts Syria Base With Cruise Missiles In Retaliation To Gas Attack
The USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile at a Syrian air force airfield. (AFP PHOTO/ US NAVY)

The United States has fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria in retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians, US officials said.

It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Donald Trump's most dramatic military order since becoming president.

The surprise strike that took place last night marked a striking reversal for President Trump, who warned as a candidate against the US getting pulled into the Syrian civil war, now in its seventh year. But the President appeared moved by the photos of children killed in the chemical attack, calling it a "disgrace to humanity" that crossed "a lot of lines."

About 60 US Tomahawk missiles, fired from warships in the Mediterranean Sea, targeted an air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that American officials believe Syrian government aircraft launched with a nerve agent, possibly sarin.

The President did not announce the attacks in advance, though he and other national security officials ratcheted up their warnings to the Syrian government throughout yesterday.

"I think what happened in Syria is one of the truly egregious crimes and shouldn't have happened and it shouldn't be allowed to happen," President Trump told reporters traveling on Air Force One to Florida, where he was holding a two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The strike came as President Trump was hosting his Chinese counterpart in meetings focused in part on another pressing US security dilemma: North Korea's nuclear program.

President Trump's actions in Syria could signal to China that the new President isn't afraid of unilateral military steps, even if key nations like China are standing in the way.