The United States, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for an apparent chemical attack against civilians and to deter him from doing it again, President Donald Trump announced Friday. Explosions lit up the skies over Damascus, the Syrian capital, as Trump spoke from the White House.
Syrian television reported that Syria’s air defenses, which are substantial, responded to the attack. After the attack ceased and the early morning skies went dark once more, vehicles with loudspeakers roamed the streets of Damascus blaring nationalist songs.
Trump said the U.S. is prepared to sustain pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons. It was not immediately clear whether Trump meant the allied military operation would extend beyond an initial nighttime round of missile strikes.
“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.