This past Tuesday, many Syrians from the rebel town of Khan Sheikhoun died from an unexpected chemical gas attack of unknown origin. Soon after the attack, videos surfaced of women and children foaming at the mouth and dying of asphyxiation. The death count reaches over 80 dead now and many more in hospitals trying to recover; the chemical was identified as Sarin. Backlash resonated around the world immediately from free-world leaders, following the announcement of this act of aggression. Many pointed fingers at the Russians and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime; both were quick to defend themselves by blaming terrorist groups in the area.
In response to the attack, an emergency UN Security Council meeting was held to address the issue. United States ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley quickly implied that the U.S. will take action if the UN didn't, stating that Russians have ignored the suffering of those people long enough, “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action."
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley addressing the UN Security Council (New York Times).
While the UN was meeting about the chemical attack, President Trump was hosting a summit meeting with President Xi Jinping of China at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. After the news of the attack reached him he met with his national security advisors to work out a response.
President Trump and President Xi Jinping at the Summit dinner in Florida (NDTV).
President Trump decided on by sending 59 missiles to target aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, radars, air defense systems, ammunition bunkers and fuel storage sites. But American planners avoid ,targeting any site where they suspect chemical agents might be stored, says The New York Times. President Trump justified his position by saying “[it is a] vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
Many hope that this is a step into the right direction for ending the six year conflict in Syria, but others fear that this will start the United States down the path to another war with Russia. Whatever the future may hold the crisis in Syria still lives on, and the world needs to be prepared for what comes next.