On Friday night, President Donald Trump took to television to announce an offensive being carried about by military assets from the United States, UK, and France, aiming to significantly hinder Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities. The offensive, which included weapons launches from multiple air and naval platforms, was a direct response to accusations of a chemical weapon attack on civilians last week by Assad’s Russian-backed regime.

The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,” Trump said.

Hours later, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff attended a Pentagon briefing to provide details into the launch of the offensive, while remaining tight lipped about its result.

Together we have sent a clear message to Assad and his murderous lieutenants that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.” Mattis said in the briefing.

The Defense Secretary went on to call the offensive a “one off shot,” saying, “right now we have no additional attacks planned.”

Though when prodded about whether or not the offensive would continue, he made it clear that it would if there were any subsequent chemical weapon attacks carried out by Assad’s regime.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year,” he said.

The Defense Officials explained that the offensive was aimed at three specific targets: a chemical weapons research facility, a storage facility, and a facility that housed both chemical weapon production equipment and a command element. These targets were chosen specifically, according to Dunford, to limit civilian and foreign casualties. It can be assumed that the foreign casualties the United States hoped to avoid were likely Russian military forces.