Following the shocking chemical attack in Syria that left up to 100 dead, many wondered how the United States would respond. Under similar circumstances in 2013, President Obama opted not to act, even after he had promised to if that line was crossed. It didn’t take long for the world to find out things have changed in Washington.
Just a short time after the chemical attack, President Trump authorized a missile strike on the airfield that was used to carry it out. It was decisive action that put Assad and the rest of the world on notice. Under Trump’s watch, the use of chemical weapons against civilians will not be tolerated.
Although the move was widely praised by most world leaders, it was predictably less warmly received by Russia and Syria. And just like Trump, it didn’t take long for the Syrian military to give a response of their own.
From The Hill:
Syrian warplanes carried out attacks from a central Syrian air base several hours after it was hit by a U.S. missile strike, the Daily Star reported on Friday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that two warplanes “took off from inside the Shayrat base, which is partially back in service, and struck targets near Palmyra,” according to the report.
The act of defiance is just the latest move in a conflict that is becoming increasingly hostile. Although the Trump administration had hoped that the strikes would send a clear message to Syria, President Assad shows no signs of backing down.
Syria’s tyrannical regime has the backing of the Russian government, complicating the situation for the American military. Both Russia and Syria deny Syrian involvement in the chemical attack, seeing the American strike as an unjustified escalation of force.
While the United States is likely to have multiple contingencies in place, administration officials have yet to indicate how the U.S. may respond if Syria doesn’t comply with international law. While the strikes carried out by the Syrian army appear not to be another chemical attack, they do show that Syria does not seem to be deterred by the U.S. response.
There has been no word from U.S. officials on potential responses to the new developments. Whatever that response is, it’s clear the situation in Syria is far from being over.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]