On Syria by Connor Starowesky ’20

The horrific genocide in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria has been perhaps the most devastating attack in the Syrian Civil War.  86 dead and 33 children from the gas attack from the Assad regime have sparked world-wide outcry.  The United Nations Security Council has condemned the acts of al-Assad but Russia, Assad’s main ally, is threatening to block a UN act punishing the acts of terror by the Syrian government.  

President Trump has notoriously been against military operations in Syria, very verbally urging President Obama not to engage three years ago.  Since witnessing the attacks on the children, President Trump says his views have changed.  He ordered military actions to be taken from his Mar-a-lago estate

As a result of the gas attack in northern Syria, President Trump ordered an airstrike on a military airfield located in al-Shayran.  The Pentagon has said the airfield was targeted because of a store of chemical weapons.  The Russian backed Syrian forces were struck with 60 Tomahawk missiles fired from two US Navy surface ships.  Of the 60 missiles, one missed the target and landed in the Mediterranean Sea.  Fox News reports a preliminary report from a Syrian human rights group claims over a dozen hangars were destroyed, along with air defenses, RADAR stations, and a fuel depot.  Another source reports 20 destroyed jet aircraft.  Syria has the strongest anti-air defenses in the Middle East and are a strategic target before more aggressive air strikes can launched in the air.

A single Tomahawk missile coat nearly $1.59 million according to the Department of Defense.  60 Tomahawk missiles comes to a grand total of nearly 95 million dollars.  President Trump has reached enormous backlash from his swift and decisive actions, though President Obama oversaw nearly 12,000 bombs dropped in 2016.

People are outraged that the President would authorize such an offensive strike without consulting Congress.  To clarify, the United States has not declared war on any nation since December 8th, 1941.  Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, and the Wars on Terror have all been, technically, “extended military engagements.”  The Constitution states that the President can order an attack without notifying the Congress, if Congress does not approve within 60 days military forces must be withdrawn.

Al-Assad’s army has retaliated on Khan Sheikhoun once again since the airstrike as of 8pm EST according to CNN.  Numbers of the most recent attack are unknown.

Tensions between the US and Russia have soared since the attack.  It would appear the “bromance” between Putin and Trump is over.  Russia immediately condemned the attack, Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, said the attacks had “Fatally undermined Moscow’s initial trust in the new US administration.” A Russian naval vessel was deployed to the coast of Syria, and there is a huge caution of impending war between the two superpowers of the world.

 

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