The United States has attacked a Syrian air base with roughly 60 cruise missiles in response to a chemical weapons attack it blames on President Bashar Assad. US officials say the Tomahawk missiles were fired from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea, targeting a government-controlled air base in Syria, reports the AP. The move comes after US officials accused Syrian aircraft of killing dozens of civilians by using chlorine mixed with a nerve agent, possibly sarin, earlier this week. President Trump, who had said the Syrian attack crossed "many, many lines" for him, said Thursday night that it was in the "vital national security interest" of the United States to stop the use of chemical weapons.
Syrian state TV reported a US missile attack on a number of military targets and called the attack an "aggression." The Washington Post notes that the US attack brings with it a heightened risk of confrontation with Syria supporters Russia and Iran. Russia initially defended Assad after the civilian deaths, saying that government airstrikes had hit chemical weapons being stored illegally by rebels. But on Thursday, a Kremlin spokesman made a point to say that its support was not "unconditional." Hundreds of US troops are currently stationed in Syria, advising local forces ahead of an assault on the city of Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold. (Read more Syria stories.)