President Donald Trump made a surprise statement to the American people on the evening of April 13, 2018, saying that the United States was conducting “precision strikes” against Syria in response to the country’s suspected use of chemical weapons and calling the president of Syria a “monster.”
You can watch a video of the Trump press conference here:
“A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway,” Trump said. He said that the Syrian leader had launched a “savage” chemical weapons attack previously and again recently. The regime “slaughtered innocent civilians” in the recent attack, the president stated. Trump called the attack “evil” and “despicable,” saying that it left mothers, fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.
“These are crimes of a monster,” said Trump, adding that Bashar al-Assad’s “recent attack… are a direct result of Russia’s failure…Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations… hopefully some day we will get along with Russia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not.” He evoked chemical weapons attacks in World War I and said, “today the nations of Britain, France and the United States of America have marshaled their righteous power” against what he called barbarism.
You can watch live coverage from ABC News of the strikes here:
See more video of the attack here:
The New York Times earlier reported that Trump’s announcement would deal with Syria. On April 11, 2018, Trump set the stage for the action by labeling Syrian president Bashar al Assad a “gas killing animal.” Fox News reported that U.S. military strikes would “go forward in Syria” and said the decision was made by Trump on the evening of April 13.
Trump also put both Russia and Iran on notice by calling both countries out by name during his short address.
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!” Trump tweeted. According to ABC News, “President Donald Trump’s national security team met Friday evening at the White House as Washington and the world waited for word of any decision on a military response to Syria’s alleged chemical attack last weekend.”
Trump stressed that “America does not seek” a permanent presence in Syria. “We look forward to the day we can bring our warriors home,” he said. He stated, “We can not purge the world of evil or act everywhere. There is tyranny.” He called the Middle East a “troubled place. We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place.” He said the fate of that region “lies in the hands of its own people.”
This post will be updated as more information is learned about Trump’s announcement on Syria. Assad and Russia have denied roles in the attack.