Fifty-nine U.S. tomahawk cruise missiles struck a Syrian airbase on April 6, 2017 in reaction to a chemical warfare attack carried out by Syria’s current leader, Assad, on a civilian village on April 5, 2017. The airbase housed the planes that dropped the chemical agents. Assad’s chemical warfare attack killed 72 and injured more including many infants. In a recent press conference, Trump said that Assad has “crossed the red line.”
This attack has been America’s first active sign of aggression towards the Assad regime, and indirectly towards Russia. Russia has stated that this has hurt their relationship with America. This is not a new predicament; the Obama administration drew lines which were crossed by Assad, but no force from the U.S. was ever displayed before the Trump presidency.
The Syrian War began in 2011 when a spark of outrage ignited among the people in response to Assad ordering the use of deadly force against a group of pro-democracy protesters. Soon this led to the civilians taking up arms to defend themselves; from this, the rebellion began to form.
Roughly 400,000 Syrian civilians and soldiers have been killed during the Syrian War over the last six years. This atrocity has displaced millions of Syrians who are now looking for refuge throughout the world while the fighting continues in their backyards. America has been supporting the pro-democracy Syrian rebels with supplies and money in order to aid their fight against the dictator Assad. Assad and his regime are backed by another world power, Russia. The two countries have had close ties since the times of the USSR and continue their alliance through weapon trades. Smaller groups in the region, the largest and most notorious of whom is ISIS, have their own competing agendas making it even more difficult for either side to form strongholds.