US vows to do more in Syria 'if needed'

Cheryl Sanders
April 9, 2017

The escalation over Syria began Thursday after the US fired missiles at a government air base citing a suspected chemical weapons attack on a Syrian rebel-held town.

"It crossed a lot of lines for me", Trump said, alluding to former president Barack Obama's failure to enforce his own "red line" on the use of chemical weapons in Syria four years ago.

"The only reason why Bashar Assad is in power today is because of Russian Federation and Iran - certainly not because of Syrians", McCain said. "President Trump still needs a larger strategy to achieve the outcomes that US national security and humanity require".

"The United States took a very measured step last night", Haley added.

We can only hope more isn't needed. The missile strike appears to have reversed that policy.

The 59 cruise missiles he ordered launched at the Shayrat Airfield, from where America believes the chemical weapons attack originated, represent a stark policy reversal for the USA president. The missiles targeted the base's airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, officials said.

A spokesman for Vladimir Putin said the strike "deals a significant blow to the Russia-U.S. relations, which are already in a deplorable shape", and poses a "serious obstacle" for creating an worldwide coalition against terrorism. They included Germany, France, Britain, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others. It did, however, say it had put Bashar al-Assad on notice that it would take further military action if he used chemical weapons again.

The impact of the strikes was also unclear.

On Friday, as the partisan divide was at its deepest in the Senate - the Republican majority changed the rules to strip Democrats of their ability to deny Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court confirmation - Democrats on the whole still backed Trump's missile strikes, albeit with reservations.

"He had a lot of questions and said he wanted to think about it, but he also had some points he wanted to make".

Democrats were muted in their response. Sen.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the US strike should be the start of a renewed effort to end the civil war, which has killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced half of Syria's population. If Syria continues down the path of civil war and chaos, the Assad regime will continue to retake territory.

The White House maintained that the alleged chemical raid violated a 2013 deal in which Syria vowed to eliminate such weapons.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also was in Florida with Trump and is scheduled to go to Moscow next week, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the Russian reaction because it showed continued support for Assad.

"Either Russia has been complicit or Russia has been simply incompetent in its ability to deliver on its end of the agreement", Tillerson said.

Mr Trump told them to focus on the military plans.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump must officially seek congressional approval if he "intends to escalate the US military's involvement in Syria".

"President Obama, John Kerry, Susan Rice all said the same thing: Assad had gotten rid of all his chemical weapons", Hannity said.

His French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault, with Gabriel on a trip to Mali, said he hoped the strikes would show Syria's allies Russian Federation and Iran that they should withdraw their support for Assad. There are other escalatory measures Trump might consider, including establishing no-fly zones and safe havens within Syria, or providing more substantial support to Syrian rebel groups.

Now president, Trump ordered the missile strikes on Thursday without seeking approval from Congress. The goal was to avoid any accident involving Russian forces.

The U.S. military has confirmed, the officials said, that Syrian regime aircraft were over the ancient town of 52,000 in northern Idlib province southwest of Aleppo, which until Tuesday's massacre was best known for its distinctive circular beehive houses.

In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official website April 7, 2017, an aerial view shows shelters for aircraft at a Syrian air base after it was hit by US strike in Syria. Russia's Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov also warned of "negative consequences" from the USA military action, which he described as a "doubtful, tragic enterprise".

Shortly after the regime's chemical attack, a small, unmanned aerial vehicle - "either [Syrian] regime or Russian" - was seen over the local hospital as victims were being rushed there for care, an official said.

Responding the morning after Assad's attack, The President's eldest daughter tweeted: "Heartbroken and outraged by the images coming out of Syria following the atrocious chemical attack today".

The chemical attack killed least 72 civilians.

However, some lawmakers expressed concern that Trump did not first seek Congressional approval before ordering the military action.

Other reports by iNewsToday