Attacks on Syria, while muddled, prove important

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By Dylan Botelho, Staff Writer

On Friday, April 13th, the United States, France, and Great Britain bombed Syria. 

Hitting three targets all related to Syria’s chemical weapon program, including one in the country’s capital of Damascus, local citizens were woken up to large explosions from different locations. The three attacks hit a chemical research center, a storage facility and a command post. 

The strikes came six days after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad forces used chemical weapons against local civilians outside of Damascus, which lead to the deaths of at least 42 adults and children.  

Twice the size as the strike against a Syrian military airfield that President Trump ordered last year, the damage provided a “serious blow” to Syria’s chemical weapon program as put by Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr.. Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr.  also noted however that they did not take out all of Syria’s chemical weapon capabilities and the Assad regime could reconstitute the program, adding that the strikes were conducted mainly to minimize the spread of chemical weapons locally in Damascus. 

While the attacks would seem like a strong commitment to preventing Syria from causing any further harm with its chemical weapons, the Trump administration seems split. President Trump said on Friday night, “We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.” Later in the press conference however, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis provided a completely different point of view, saying that the attacks were a “one-time shot designed to set back the Syrian war machine’s ability to produce chemical weapons.” 

Of course, the attacks have caused major controversy. While Syrian state televisions aired video of missiles being fired into the dark night sky and claimed they were in response to “the American Aggression,” practically all news channels across the United States covered the story, attempting to uncover more.  

What was found per CNN, was that US intelligence agencies did in fact not have absolute certainty that Syria’s regime had used the nerve agent sarin against its civilians, rather, the Trump administration felt the evidence was strong enough to justify the attacks.  

More than ever, we are closer to all-out war. Just 90 mins after the strikes the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, warned of “consequences” for the three allies.  

It’s time though, that we take a true stand against the al-Assad regime and the use of banned chemical weapons. The strikes finally prove that there will be extreme consequences for the use of such weapons and that the perennial war crimes committed by the al-Assad regime and any others that come after, will be acted upon, no matter who is involved.  

If we are taking that stance, we must be ready for war and for war, we will need our allies. If there is one positive thing to take out of President Trump’s presidency thus far, it is the United States, France, and Great Britain’s cooperation on these attacks. It is not just a simple military alliance, but also a political one in which all sides understand the implications and agreed to move forward with the same goals in mind.  

That at least, is the only good news we have today.  

Photo Courtesy: Hassan Ammar

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