WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced military air strikes on Syrian targets after concluding that the regime of Bashir Assad was responsible for the use of chemical weapons against civilians.
From the White House, Trump said that the United States was taking joint military action with France and the United Kingdom. He said that the strikes were intended to be a”strong deterrent” against further use of the chemical weapons.
Trump signaled in a tweet earlier this week that he was planning air strikes, and referred to Assad as a “monster.”
“The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power — military, economic, and diplomatic,” Trump said. “We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”
Trump also sent a message to Russia and Iran, which he called the “two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing the criminal Assad regime.
“To Iran, and to Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?”
He said that in 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s use of chemical weapons, but that Assad’s recent attack and the 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,” Trump said.
“In the last century, we looked straight into the darkest places of the human soul,” Trump said. “We saw the anguish that can be unleashed and the evil that can take hold. By the end of the World War I, more than one million people had been killed or injured by chemical weapons. We never want to see that ghastly specter return.”