On Thursday night following the U.S. airstrike on Syria, the Pentagon released a statement outlining details about the missile strike you may not have heard elsewhere. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, went over what time the missiles were launched, where they landed, and why they were ordered. In light of the fact that such missions may continue until the Assad regime is toppled, it's important to stay up-to-date on the government's viewpoint.
Davis said the airstrike was carried out around 8:40 p.m. ET, or 4:40 a.m. in Syria and involved a total of 59 Tomahawk missiles, which were launched from the Mediterranean Sea. More importantly, Davis explained why the United States chose to target the Shayrat Airfield in the Homs province specifically. Davis wrote:
The strike was a proportional response to Assad's heinous act. Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces. The U.S. intelligence community assesses that aircraft from Shayrat conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4. The strike was intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again.
Making it clear that the United States will no longer tolerate the "use of chemical weapons against innocent people," Davis added that the damage caused by the airstrike is still being evaluated. Even so, it's expected that it has "severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment" used to carry out the chemical attack on Tuesday.
Though Davis ensured that the United States informed Russia of the attack on Syria before it happened — Russia is one of Assad's allies and has stood by him, even following the deadly gas attack on innocent civilians — some Americans fear the airstrike could spark a war or signal heavier military involvement in the war-torn country. At the same time, however, pressure has been mounting on the Trump administration to take action against the atrocities happening in Syria.
In fact, just hours before the Syrian airstrike was announced, Senator John McCain released a statement urging the Trump administration to take action, claiming that the international community would have to stand behind him if he were to do so:
This is a test of the new administration, but also for our entire country. Assad is trying to see what he can get away with. The rest of the region and the world is also watching to see how our country will respond, and what that means for them. There is plenty that Democrats and Republicans in Washington disagree on. But in this instance, we must show the world that we are still capable of putting aside our differences and doing the right thing. If the President is willing to take the necessary action, he deserves broad bipartisan support, and we will help build it.
Whether or not the international community takes a stand alongside the United States has yet to be seen, though the U.K. government has already deemed the strike an "appropriate response."