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Suspected chemical attack prompts US military response

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The Syria Civil Defense rescue many of those in danger

The Syria Civil Defense rescue many of those in danger

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The Syria Civil Defense rescue many of those in danger

Erron Franklin, Copy Editor

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The rebel-held region of Khan Sheikhoun in North-Western Syria was hit by a suspected chemical weapon last week, killing at least 80 including nearly 30 children. The death toll is expected to rise as many of those who survived the attack are in critical condition.

The attack happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Witnesses describe seeing aircrafts drop a bomb on a building in the the neighboring city of Idlib where the sky was overtaken by a yellow mushroom cloud. Those who arrived to help the wounded were also killed after inhaling gas looming in the area.

Although unconfirmed, many suspect that sarin gas, a banned colorless and odorless nerve agent was used in the attack. The injured exhibited symptoms consistent with the type of reaction caused by the chemical.

Mohammed Rasoul, who runs the ambulance service in Idlib, told BBC News that around 6:45 a.m. local time, is when he heard about the blast. His team of medics arrived on scene twenty minutes later and found people, many of them children, choking in the street.

Many Western countries including the US, are accusing the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad of carrying out the deadly attack. “These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated,” said President Trump. Also blaming his predecessor, “These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution.”

President al-Assad and other Syrian officials have continued to deny any involvement in the attack. “I stress to you once again that our army has never used chemical weapons and will not use chemical weapons,” said Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made an on-camera statement regarding the matter on Wednesday. “There’s no doubt in our mind that the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad is responsible for this horrific attack,” said Tillerson. Also asking Russia to reconsider its support of the Syrian government, “We think it’s time that the Russians really need to think carefully about their continued support for the Assad regime.”

President Trump, who for many years implored that Obama refrain from involving the US in Syria’s matters, took a bold step in response to the suspected chemical attack, when he ordered a US airstrike. “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” he said from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Two American warships located in the Mediterranean Sea, launched 59 cruise missiles aimed at the Shayrat Airfield, the base the US believes housed the aircrafts used to carry out Tuesday’s attack. This base was also used by Russian Military working with Syria’s government forces.

They targeted aircraft, aircraft shelters, storage areas, ammunition supply bunkers and air defence systems at the Syrian government-controlled facility, according to the Pentagon.

Nine people, including four children, in two villages were killed in the strike according to Syrian state news agency SANA. Approximately twenty Syrian regime planes were destroyed in the US strike, according to two US senior military officials.

The Kremlin warned that the airstrike may lead to repercussions and President Putin categorized the US actions as “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law.”

Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, told an emergency session of the UN Security Council that the strike was in the best interest of America’s national security. “We are prepared to do more but we hope that will not be necessary,” she said. “It is in our vital national security interest to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons.”

Haley made it clear that America is willing and prepared to act, again, while calling on civilized nations push for a solution in Syria. “We are prepared to do more. But we hope that will not be necessary. It is time for all civilized nations to stop the horrors that are taking place in Syria and demand a political solution.”

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