WASHINGTON (KMSP) - President Trump announced Friday night that he ordered a U.S. military strike on Syria.
The strikes were launched jointly with British and French allies in retaliation for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.
“One year ago, Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people,” Trump said. “The United States responded with 58 missile strikes that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian Air Force. Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians.”
“These are not the actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead,” Trump said of Assad’s alleged actions.
He called Russia and Iran, two of Syria's strongest allies, responsible for equipping and financing the actions of the Assad regime.
As President Trump was speaking, Syria’s capital was rocked by loud explosions that lit up the sky with heavy smoke, the Associated Press reported.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said he is confident Assad conducted an attack on innocent people last week.
During a press conference at the Pentagon he said the air strikes hit Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure. The targets of the airstrikes were designed to degrade Syria’s ability to create chemical weapons, Mattis said. Everything possible to minimize civilian casualties during the attack was done during intelligence planning, he added.
During his address to the nation, Trump said he was prepared to keep pressure on Assad until he stops using internationally banned chemical weapons.
Mattis said there are not any additional attacks planned at this time, calling Friday’s attack a “one-time shot.”
The Pentagon will provide more information about the attack Saturday.
This is a developing story and will be updated. The Associated Press contributed to this report.