The U.S. government launched dozens of missiles at a Syrian airfield in retaliation for a chemical attack on civilians earlier this week, according to multiple reports.
More than 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired targeting the Al-Shayrat air base in Homs in western Syria under President Donald Trump’s orders.
At least 70 people, including 10 children, were killed in the chemical attacks on Tuesday, in which banned sarin nerve gas was used.
Speaking to reporters from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump said that the missile strikes were in the “vital national security interest” of the United States.
“It was a slow and brutal death for so many,” he said of the attack, adding that there can be “no dispute” that Syria used chemical weapons. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
“Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” he went on. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
“As long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will on the end prevail,” Trump said.
He called on “civilized nations” to join the United States in “seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria.”
The attack was a reversal of Trump’s previous opinions of what should be done in Syria. He had urged President Obama not to strike in 2013 without congressional authorization.
But Trump earlier this week acknowledged that his opinions had changed, particularly after viewing images of the victims of the attack.
The missile attack on Syria opens a new dimension into U.S. involvement in the region, which had so far focused on air strikes against ISIS targets.