Syria: US Strike Killed 6, Caused 'Significant' Damage

Congress is split, but not along party lines
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2017 5:32 AM CDT
Updated Apr 7, 2017 6:38 AM CDT
Congress Divided on Syria Strikes
In this image from video provided by the US Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter launches a Tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea.   (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/US Navy via AP)

President Trump's decision to strike a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a chemical attack on civilians has bipartisan support—and bipartisan opposition. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio were joined by Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in voicing their support for what they called an "appropriate" and "proportional" strike, though the Democrats added that Congress will have to approve any further escalation, Politico reports. Republicans including Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee, meanwhile, were joined by Democrats such as Sen. Tim Kaine in slamming Trump for launching the strikes without congressional approval. In other developments:

  • Syria says the strike, which involved around 60 Tomahawk missiles launched from US destroyers in the Mediterranean, killed six people, wounded several others, and caused "significant" damage, the Los Angeles Times reports. A statement from the Syrian military denounced the strike as "blatant aggression" that will be a setback to its "counterterrorist" activity.

  • Deutsche Welle reports that the attack was endorsed by European countries, including the UK, France, and Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Bashar al-Assad bears "sole responsibility" for the strike against his regime's forces.
  • Russia's military says only 23 out of the 59 American missiles reached the Shayrat airbase in Homs province, the AP reports. The military says the attack destroyed six Syrian planes, but left the runway intact. Vladimir Putin has denounced the strike as American aggression, a spokesman says.
  • The New York Times looks at the risks and opportunities the strike has opened up for Trump. There's now an opportunity for the US to demand that Russia help get rid of Assad—but there's the risk Putin might reject any such deal, that the strike could hurt the fight against ISIS, and that Trump's team has no real plan for peace in Syria.
  • Syrian opposition groups welcomed the attack and said they hoped it marked the beginning of a wider campaign against Assad. "For Syrians, any military intervention that will neutralize Assad’s ability to continue his genocide will fall on our hearts like music," a civil defense volunteer in northern Syria tells the Los Angeles Times.
  • The Guardian reports that a monitoring group says that despite the US strike, a warplane believed to be Russian or Syrian carried out an airstrike near Khan Sheikhoun, the town hit by the chemical attack, on Friday.
(More Syria stories.)

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