President Donald Trump announced late on Friday that retaliatory airstrikes have been ordered in response to the “evil and despicable” chemical attack. Trump addressed the nation from the White House, stating that precision strikes on Syrian chemical weapons program targets are currently underway and that the effort has been coordinated with allied countries.
The strikes are in response to the chemical attack that occurred near the Syrian city of Damascus that resulted in the deaths of dozens of people, and are a coordinated effort with Britain and France.
Trump said that the US and its allies are prepared to take part in a “sustained” response, suggesting that the retaliatory strikes will continue until the Syrian government ceases their use of chemical weapons.
It is believed that the chemical attacks were ordered by Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president.
“A short time ago, I ordered the US Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad,” said Trump, according to a report by CBS.
“A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway,” he added.
Trump also called out Iran and Russia during the announcement.
“To Iran and Russia, I ask, what kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?” asked Trump. “The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep.”
The announcement comes one year after Trump announced strikes against Syria for a separate chemical attack.
Ahead of the announcement, the White House had been largely quiet regarding any potential military action. Just hours before stating that strikes were underway, the White House said that no final plans were in place regarding possible responses.
Trump insisted that there are no plans to have a permanent US military presence in Syria. Current Pentagon estimates suggest that there are approximately 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria.
Following the announcement, Trump did not field any additional questions.