Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

US Strike Was Targeted, Proportionate and in Line with UN Protocols

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

US Strike Was Targeted, Proportionate and in Line with UN Protocols

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Fox Defence Editor commentary

THE US strike on the Shayrat air base is the most high-profile outside intervention in Syria's six-year civil conflict, which has taken the lives of nearly half a million people and displaced more than 11 million more than half the population.

Reports from the governor of Homs say that at least six Syrian soldiers were killed and civilians were injured in the overnight Tomahawk strike.

Some 14 warplanes, aircraft shelters and fuel dumps have been destroyed. The US military had given prior warning to Russia so they could get their military personnel out of harm's way.

President Donald Trump said that he had ordered the attack after Syria's "horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the strike was a one-off. "I would not in any way attempt to extrapolate that to a change in our policy or posture relative to our military activities in Syria today," he explained.

When Bashar al-Assad's artillery fired rockets with chemical warheads into the Gouta district of greater Damascus killing 231 on 21 August 2013, President Barack Obama warned that Damascus had crossed a red line.

Yet he did nothing deterred by a Westminster vote against the Cameron government taking military action. Trump did not bother to seek assent from allies or Congress. He didn't need to.

Following the US and British climbdown in 2013, the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2118, to remove and destroy Syria's chemical stockpile. Syria also signed, stating it would not use chemical weapons.

But since then the Damascus junta has used them several times, mostly by dropping chlorine in barrels from helicopters.

In Khan Sheikhoun they appear to have dropped barrels and rockets containing sarin, a difficult and deadly agent for handlers and victims alike. …

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