By: Tomi Simmons
In April, 2017, the United States military led an airstrike in Syria in response to the country’s use of chemical weapons. Friday April 13th, 2018, President Trump approved an air strike once more, along with allies Great Britain and France. All three countries also received Germany’s consent to go through with this mission.
The decision for the air strike was due to President Assad’s regime use of chemical weapons on a rebel base in Douma. The chemical attack caused almost 500 people to be treated for chemical poisoning and 75 people to be dead (including children). The strike that United States and its two allies pursued were three targets; they hit a storage facility and equipment storage site West of Homs and a science facility devoted to the research and development of chemical weapons in Damascus (near Douma). There were no United States casualties, and Russia has reported there were no Syrian army casualties either. There are rumors that three civilians were killed in the process.
Two weeks ago President Donald Trump had expressed his goal to begin to take American troops out of Syria; however, now he has said that the United States will intervene when chemical weapons are used in Syria. Following the air strike, the President of Syria tweeted, “Honorable soul cannot be humiliated.” Russia also responded to the United States through Anatoly Antonov, the ambassador. He stated, “We warned such actions will not be left without consequences. All responsibility for them rests of London, Washington, and Paris.”
The US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has stated that this airstrike was double the one of 2017. Around the world there were several leaders who applauded this military action. Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, supported the strikes. In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel believed the strikes “were necessary and appropriate.” Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, tweeted her support as well. In the United States reactions seems to initially be split among party lines. Republicans seemed to show more support, while Democrats wanted to question the strike and the overall outcome. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated in response to the strike and chemical weapons, “There’s an obligation, particularly when dealing with matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law in general,” he said. “I urge all member states to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances.”
The question now is what comes next? Can that military action cause for Syria to stop their use of chemical weapons on its people? As of right now Assad has failed to change his behavior even when military forces are used in response. The United States will retaliate again if chemical weapons are used, however many question if it is worth the resources and people. When it comes to conflict and resolution between these leaders, the biggest adversity to get through is pushing another to change even when they are not allies.