Around 8:30 PM, the peace in the Shayrat in Homs province was shattered as American tomahawk cruise missiles fell for roughly two to four minutes. The USS Porter and USS Ross fired off 50 to 60 missiles by order of President Trump. The airbase targeted was suspected of housing the warplanes that dropped nerve gas on rebel held territory in Syria and each missile costs around $500,000. The target of this barrage were the runway, aircraft, and fuel sites. Six casualties were reported. This was the first direct military action taken by the US in Syria in an almost a six year civil war. “[Bashar al-]Assad choked out the helpless… There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons,” said Trump in a brief statement to the press about the engagement. Former presidential candidate Marco Rubio stated “I would let them speak for their policy, but tonights actions show that the days of being able to act with impunity are over [for Assad]…”
The Syrian Civil War is a mixing pot of various factions fighting for various other factions. Warlords, gangs, and modern military all fight together and against each other. The three main forces in the middle eastern region are the rebels, who are backed by the U.S. and it’s allies, Assad’s military, who are backed by Russia and Iran, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Both Assad and the U.S. have the same goal: to eliminate ISIL. However, Assad also wants to eliminate the American backed rebels and ISIL wants to eliminate both groups. Because of this very volatile mix of loyalties and firepower, direct action was never used by the U.S. until tonight, and not everyone agrees. “Both the Syrians and Russians can act as a spoiler,” said Andrew Exum, a former senior defense official in the Obama administration. “American and coalition aircraft have flown around and through their air defense systems for the last two years. If you launched a strike against the regime, it would have every excuse to start lighting up coalition planes with anti aircraft systems.”
The biggest concern for many are how the Russians will respond to this incredibly aggressive action. Russia’s Deputy UN ambassador Vladimir Safronkov claimed that any negative effects of this strike would rest on “…[the] shoulders of those who initiated such a doubtful and tragic enterprise.” There were claims that Russian military personnel were on the base when it was attacked. However, both Western and Russian news report that the Russian military was warned of this strike. The question of how Trump will respond to foreign aggression has been answered. North Korea, Iran, and many others who have disregarded the United States in the past may now come into the sights of the American military. Looking towards the future, is a newly military aggressive America going to continue?