On Friday evening, President Donald Trump announced the launch of an international offensive against Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure.

I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said from the White House.

“The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic,” Trump said. “We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”

The attack was prompted by the alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians in rebel controlled territory earlier this week, and the president made it clear that Friday’s strike was meant as reprisal.

This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead.”

The President also placed the blame on Russia for failing to follow through on their promise to oversee the elimination of Assad’s chemical weapons and facilities.

In 2013, President [Vladimir] Putin and his government promised the world they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons,” Trump said. “Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are a direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise,” the president was quoted in a Defense Department press release.

“The Russians are now complicit in Syrian use of such weapons, and the nation must decide if they will continue its partnership with Assad or join civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.”

According to that same statement, Friday’s strikes are not the beginning of a broader offensive.

The action does not indicate a widening of U.S. involvement in Syria, the president said. U.S. troops are in eastern Syria to advise Syrian Democratic Forces in actions to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford reported that they will not discuss Syrian, Iranian, or Russian responses to the offensive until morning.

Featured Image Courtesy of the Department of Defense