April 6, 2017: President Donald Trump said, “Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror. Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.”
January 2017: Obama’s out-going National Security Adviser Susan Rice claimed that Obama had convinced the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.
April 2017: The victims of Syria’s most recent chemical attack on its own citizens were unavailable for comment.
Unsurprisingly, Syria, Iran, and Russia condemned the strike. But other world leaders have by and large been very supportive of Trump’s move.
- “[W]e fully support the strike.” – UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon
- “This regime must be removed from leading Syria as soon as possible.” – Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
- “President Assad alone carries responsibility for these developments” with his “repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own people.” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande
- It was an “appropriate response” to the “unthinkable brutality” of the chemical attack that “serves as an example to the entire free world” to support steps to end atrocities in Syria. – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin
- The airstrikes were “a means to prevent further deterioration of the situation.” – Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
- “The United States has clearly indicated that (Syrian President Bashar) Assad’s atrocities do not go unpunished.” – Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen
- “This was a calibrated, proportionate and targeted response. It sends a strong message to the Assad regime, and … has been struck at the very airfield from which the chemical attack was delivered.” – Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the U.S.’s “limited and focused action” against the airfield in Syria and said the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons cannot be ignored. “These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to continue with impunity.”