US President Donald Trump has declared a military strike on Syrian government’s chemical weapons sites “mission accomplished”.
The attack, carried out jointly with Britain and France, was a response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma by the Syrian regime.
“A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”, Trump tweeted.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said he condemned the Western strikes “in the most serious way”.
The Pentagon echoed the President’s assessment.
“Last night, operations were very successful,” Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said at a briefing Saturday morning. “We met our objectives. We hit the sites, the heart of the chem-weapons program. So it was mission accomplished.”
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the United States is ready to keep pressure on Syria following military strikes that targeted the country’s ability to use chemical weapons.
“The United States is locked and loaded,” she said at an emergency UN Security Council meeting.
“When our President draws a red line, our President enforces a red line.”
Haley blasted Russia for protecting Syria and said that Moscow has emboldened Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to continue its attacks.
The Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia accused Washington of embarking on an “illegal military venture.”
“Russia condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack against Syria where Russian military personnel are assisting the legitimate country and their counterterrorism efforts,” Nebenzia said.
Nebenzia also said recent inspections by the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found no “traces of activity that would contravene the chemical weapons convention” at scientific research facilities targeted in the strikes.
“Mission Accomplished” was a televised address by United States President George W. Bush on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. The name became central in the controversy that followed.
Although Bush stated at the time “Our mission continues” and “We have difficult work to do in Iraq,” he also stated that it was the end to major combat operations in Iraq. Bush never uttered the phrase “Mission Accomplished”; a banner stating “Mission Accomplished” was used as a backdrop to the speech. Bush’s assertion—and the sign itself—became controversial after guerrilla warfare in Iraq increased during the Iraqi insurgency.
The vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, occurred after the speech.