By Prudence Arobani
U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that he ordered a strike on Syria in response to last weekend’s chemical weapons attack.
Trump, while addressing the nation on Friday night, said the joint strike with France and the United Kingdom was currently underway.
“A short time ago, 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,” Trump said.
Pentagon, at a press briefing on the strike at 10 p.m., said the strikes did maximum damages to Assad’s regime’s chemical weapons sites.
Trump said that the “massacre” last weekend in Syria “was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime.”
“The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,” Trump said.
Trump also took a swipe at Russia and Iran, condemning their continued support to Assad’s 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?
“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,” Trump said.
“In 2013, President Vladimir 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 civilised nations as a force for stability and peace.
“Hopefully, someday we’ll get along with Russia and maybe even Iran. But maybe not,” the president stressed.
Trump however added that the U.S. “does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria”.
“We look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home. We cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny.
“No amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East,” Trump said.
“We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria. We pray that God will guide the whole region toward a future of dignity and of peace.
“And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of Defence Gen. James Mattis said U.S. and its allies struck harder this time than the 2017 strike against the country which did not seem to deter the Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, Joint Chief of Staff, said the strikes were carried out on three Syrian chemical weapons infrastructures and the U.S. believed it would send al-Assad a strong message.
On Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said analysis done by the U.S., U.K. and France proved the chemical attack.
In a statement Friday night, UK Prime Minister Theresa May called last weekend’s chemical attack “pure horror”.
“The Syrian regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.
“And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack,” May said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the response was “limited to the Syrian regime’s capabilities to produce and use chemical weapons”.
“We cannot tolerate the normalisation of the use of chemical weapons, which is a direct threat to the security of the Syrian people and our collective security,” Macron said.