President Trump ordered a military attack against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday, joining allies Britain and France in launching missile strikes in retaliation for what Western nations said was the deliberate gassing of Syrian civilians.
The coordinated strike marked the second time in a year that Trump has used force against Assad, who U.S. officials believe has continued to test the West’s willingness to accept gruesome chemical attacks.
Trump announced the strikes in an address to the nation Friday evening. “The purpose of our action tonight is to establish a strong deterrent,” he said, against the production and use of chemical weapons, describing the issue as vital to national security. Trump added that the United States is prepared “to sustain this response” until its aims are met.
Trump asked both Russia and Iran, backers of Assad, “what kind of nation wants to be associated” with mass murder and suggested that someday the United States might be able to “get along” with both if they change their policies.