U.S. attack Syria

  • What we know

    Good evening. The United States has fired dozens of cruise missiles into Syria. Here's what we know.
    • Strikes hit the government-controlled Shayrat airbase in central Syria.
    • The U.S. missiles hit at 8:45 p.m. ET Thursday — early Friday morning in Syria.
    • The Tomahawk missiles were fired from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea, according to U.S. officials.
    • This is the first direct U.S. assault on the Syrian government.
  • Where did the missiles hit?

    The target was the Shayrat military airbase in Homs, a major industrial centre. U.S. officials say this is where the Syrian military planes that dropped the sarin gas had taken off from.
    The U.S. military gave Russian forces advance notice of its strikes and did not hit sections of the base where the Russians were believed to be present, according to Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis.
    Here it where the airfield is in perspective to the rest of Syria.
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 3:44:57 AM
  • A look at the Tomahawk missiles fired from U.S. warship in the Mediterranean Sea

    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 3:47:50 AM
  • What did Trump say?

    "Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons."
    That's part of what Trump had to say Thursday night shortly after the attack. Here's his full statement:

    Donald Trump and U.S. Pentagon statements on Syria missile attack

    Read a transcript of the statement made by U.S. President Donald Trump shortly after the U.S. launched a missile attack against a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a chemical attack, as well as a statement issued by the Pentagon.
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 3:51:48 AM
  • Israel reacts

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has weighed in on the attack, saying that his country "fully supports President Trump's decision." 
    "Israel hopes this resolve in face of the Assad regime's horrific actions resonates not only in Damascus but in Tehran, Pyongyang & elsewhere."
    Earlier this week, Netanyahu called on the international community to "remove these horrible weapons from Syria."
  • 'Airstrikes are an act of war'

    We are starting to see reaction from all sorts of politicians from around the world. As Europe wakes up, we'll bring you what their leaders have to say.
    Justin Amash, a Republican member of Congress, has given his thoughts, with a few harsh words about Trump's decision.
    "Airstrikes are an act of war. Atrocities in Syria cannot justify departure from Constitution, which vests in Congress power to commence war."
  • Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, where he made this statement Thursday night

  • Rex Tillerson gives insight into attack

    The Secretary of State is also in Florida at Mar-a-Lago and briefed the White House press pool. He said there was a wide range of options about what the U.S. could have done and he thought that President Trump made the "exact, correct decision."
    He said he thinks the attack sends a strong message to Bashar Assad, the president of Syria.

    "There are a number of elements that in our view that called for this action tonight, which we feel is appropriate. We feel that the strike itself was proportional because it was targeted at the facility that delivered this most recent chemical weapons attack.

    We coordinated very carefully with our international partners in terms of communicating with them around the world. I would tell you that the response from our allies, as well as the region and the Middle East has been overwhelmingly supportive of the action we taken."

  • Democrats start to react too

    One of the most prominent so far? Tim Kaine, the U.S. Senator from Virginia who ran as Hillary Clinton's running mate.
    He called Trump's decision to attack without a vote of Congress "unconstitutional."
  • The view from Mar-a-Lago

    Senior advisor Steve Bannon, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell and Ivanka Trump were in the crowd as Donald Trump was making his statement about the missile strikes.
    (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
    (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
  • The Canadian government has yet to react

    Katie Simpson is in Ottawa at CBC's Parliament Hill bureau. She is looking for reaction from the Canadian government. She put in her first request for comment just before 9:20 p.m. ET and was told to be patient. Still nothing yet as of 12:30 a.m. ET.
    Here's more from Simpson:
    "PM was in NYC on Thursday, possibility he could be in transit back to Canada. He has an event in Nova Scotia on Friday, that appears to remain on his schedule.
    Also: questions about whether Canada was caught off guard by this U.S. move. Canada has been caught off guard by the Trump administration before, when they rolled out the first travel ban.
    But remember, the prime minister's office has set up a strong network of connection points with senior staffers in the White House. If there's an issue, they have a network in which they can reach out. One wonders how much consultation/reaching out was done when this decision was announced.
    Questions the prime minister needs to answer:
    First: Does Canada support this move by the U.S.?
    Second: How much of a heads up was Canada given? did Canada raise any concerns?
    Many many more questions to come."
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 4:41:12 AM
  • Another view of the airfield

    The Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria is where the missiles were launched at. It is used both by Syrian and Russian military forces.
    (DigitalGlobe/U.S. Department of Defence/Reuters)
    According to Reuters, U.S. officials said they informed Russian forces ahead of the missile attacks and that there were no strikes on sections of the base where Russians were present.
    But they said the administration did not seek Moscow's approval.
    • Thomson Reuters

    There have been deaths ...

    ... but as for how many, it is too early to say. That's according to Talal Barazi, the governor of the Syrian province of Homs, near where the missiles fell. Barazi was talking to the Lebanese TV station al-Mayadeen.
    Earlier Barazi told Reuters the strike on the base near the Syrian city of Homs was not believed to have caused "big human casualties" but had caused material damage.
  • 'The United States was not attacked'

    Rand Paul, the Republican U.S. senator from Kentucky, disagreed with Trump's decision to launch missiles, telling his Twitter followers that the president needed "Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution."
  • Saudi Arabia, Australia support air strike

    Officials from both countries have come out in support of the U.S.'s decision.
    Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the attack a "swift and just" response.
    "This was a calibrated, proportionate and targeted response. It sends a strong message to the Assad regime, and ... has been struck at the very airfield from which the chemical attack was delivered."
    • Associated Press

    What does Russia have to say? 

    Here's the latest dispatch from the Associated Press. We are expecting to hear more from Russia soon. It is currently 8:10 a.m. local time in Moscow.
    "Russia's Foreign Ministry says it is preparing a statement regarding U.S. strikes on a Syrian base.
    Shortly before the strikes, the head of information policy commission in the upper house of Russian parliament, Alexei Pushkov, said on Twitter said that if Trump launches a military action in Syria it would put him in "the same league with Bush and Obama."
    Russian deputy envoy to the U.N., Vladimir Safronkov, said Russia had warned the U.S. to "think about what military actions have led to in Iraq, Libya and other countries," according to the Interfax news agency."
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 5:11:26 AM
  • #WWIII is trending

    An estimated 63,900 tweets using the phrase WWIII (World War Three) have been sent out.
    You may think that's a lot but let's put it in perspective. 97,700 tweets have been sent out about the television show Scandal while 88,400 tweets have been sent out about Harry Styles' debut single, Sign of the Times.
  • What the launch looked like

    The U.S. Navy captured stills of the missiles being launched, which came from the USS Ross and USS Porter floating in the Mediterranean Sea.
    Here's what it looked like:
    ( Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters)
    (Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters)
    (Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters)
  • As Europe starts to wake up, reaction trickles in

    In Britain, a Downing Street spokesman has said the government fully supports the United States' action, calling it an appropriate response to the "barbaric chemical weapons attack."
    Over in France, foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the country was given a heads up before the strikes were launched. He said the strikes are a "warning" to a "criminal regime."
  • Branches of the Canadian government speak out ...

    ... about four hours after request for comment but they don't have much to say. A spokesperson for National Defence said CAF personnel weren't involved in the strike.
    As for foreign affairs, this is what their spokesperson had:
    Canada continues to condemn in the strongest of terms chemical weapons attacks against Syrian civilians.
    We have been in touch with our U.S. counterparts.
    We support efforts to stop these atrocities, and we will have more to say in the morning.
    Trudeau was in New York today, as we heard earlier, and is due in Nova Scotia tomorrow. He has yet to speak out.
    Some countries were given a heads up before the strikes were launched. It will be interesting to know if Canada was one of those countries.
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 5:41:58 AM
    • Associated Press

    What does the strike mean for U.S.-Russia relations?

    A senior Russian lawmaker says that U.S. strike on Syria likely has put an end to hopes for Russia-U.S. cooperation in Syria.
    Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the Kremlin-controlled upper house of parliament said on his Facebook that the prospective U.S.-Russian anti-terror coalition has been "put to rest without even being born."
    Kosachev added that "it's a pity," suggesting that Trump had been pressured to act by the Pentagon.
    He added that while "Russian cruise missiles strike the terrorists, U.S. missiles strike Syrian government forces who are spearheading the fight against the terrorists."
  • Outside the White House

    A member of the secret service guards the White House shortly after Trump made the announcement that missiles had been fired.
    Trump's not there though. He's in Florida at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he met with the Chinese president on Thursday.
    (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Syrian army evacuation?

    Al-Mayadeen, a news network in Lebanon, is reporting that the Syrian army command had evacuated most of its warplanes from the Shayrat airbase before the missiles struck.
  • Conflicting reports about how many have died

    It is still early but the total number of those who died is either four or five people, depending on who you talk to.
    Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs province where the missiles landed, told the Associated Press that the strike killed three soldiers and two civilians.
    A Syrian opposition monitor said the attack killed four soldiers, including a general.
    There are also people who were wounded by the strikes but there are no concrete figures on how many just yet.
    • Thomson Reuters

    Putin thinks the strikes are illegal

    We've got Russian reaction from President Vladimir Putin now. Here's the latest, via Reuters.
    "Putin believes that U.S. cruise missile strikes on a Syrian air base broke international law and have seriously hurt U.S.-Russia relations, news agencies cited the Kremlin as saying on Friday.
    Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying that the Russian leader, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, regarded the U.S. action as "aggression against a sovereign nation" on a "made-up pretext" and as a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq.
    Peskov was quoted as saying that Russia did not believe that Syria possessed chemical weapons and that the U.S. move would inevitably create a serious obstacle to creating an international coalition to fight terrorism, an idea that Putin has repeatedly pushed.
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 6:09:24 AM
  • Missing Tillerson?

    I talked about U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his reaction to all of this earlier in this live blog. Tillerson is set to head to Russia next Tuesday, the first visit to Russia by a Trump administration official.
    If you missed it earlier in the night, you can read what Tillerson had to say about the strikes here: 

    Tillerson calls U.S. missile attack 'proportional' and 'appropriate' given Assad's 'heinous act'

    A proxy battle with Russia in Syria and multiple Russia-related investigations in the U.S. will follow Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Moscow next week on a trip designed to test the Trump administration's hopes for closer ties to the former Cold War foe.
  • How much is a Tomahawk missile?

    59 Tomahawk missiles were fired into Syria from the Mediterranean Sea. My colleague Daniel Schwartz looked into what a single Tomahawk costs.
    The U.S. Defense Department lists the procurement cost for a tactical Tomahawk cruise missile at US $1.848 million each in fiscal year 2016.
    So at that price, the ​59 ​missiles the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross fired at the Syrian airbase cost a total of about $109 million.
    (Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters)
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 6:19:18 AM
  • Russians not hurt

    Though Russians work on the airbase where the missiles struck, Russian officials are saying that no Russians were hurt or killed in the attack.
  • What we know, take two

    It's been a few hours since I told you what we know. Let's take another look at what has happened since our live blog coverage began.
    • World reaction has started to pour in. Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Australia have come out in favour of the attack, so far.
    • Canada has made a brief comment. Foreign Affairs said they have been in touch with their U.S. counterparts, support "efforts to stop these atrocities" and they will have more to say in the morning.
    • There have been deaths but it's not clear exactly how many yet. Reports are saying between four and five. None were Russian.
    • Putin said the strikes are illegal and broke international law, according to news agencies.
    • Russian officials said the strike is likely to hurt U.S.-Russia relations.
    • Several countries were notified ahead of the strike including Russia, France and Israel.
  • Poland supports the strikes too

    Just in case you wanted to know, Poland has joined the growing number of countries who are coming out in favour of Trump's decision.
    The reaction comes from cabinet spokesman Rafal Bochenek, who called the U.S. a "guarantor of world peace and order."
    "There are situations when you need to react, situations when you need to take actual action ... we have seen the abuses of the Syrian regime over the last 
    years - no one had reacted to that."
    Rafal Bochenek, pictured on the right (Rafał Bochenek/Twitter)
  • Who is for and who is condemning?

    Let's keep a running tally. We'll update it throughout the night and the morning.
    Supportive: Britain, Australia, Israel, Turkey, Poland, Saudi Arabia, France, Japan
    Condemning: Iran, Russia, Syria
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 6:47:01 AM
  • Trump's action stands in opposition to Obama

    CBC's Matt Kwong draws out what's different in his new analysis piece on Thursday's strikes. You can read it in full below.
    "Obama, Trump's predecessor, declared in 2012 that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would cross a "red line" warranting military force. But when the time came to turn moral outrage into action, Obama said he would seek approval from a skeptical Congress for a military strike in Syria. It never came to that because the Assad regime agreed to give up its stockpile of chemical weapons (whether that was ever true is now in question)."

    Missile attack on Syria signals sea change in Trump's non-interventionist foreign policy

    Thursday's missile attack on a Syrian airbase could be a clarifying moment for Trump, reversing the non-interventionist doctrine that has been the hallmark of his foreign policy position since his campaign for president and could provide a long-overdue chilling effect on those waging Syria's protracted civil war.
  • For Trump, the decision is contradictory

    Back in 2013, Donald Trump shared his thoughts on bombing Syria and told his Twitter followers why he thought then president Barack Obama shouldn't do it.
    Trump didn't seek Congressional approval for Thursday's attack. Democrats and even some Republicans are calling him out on that decision, saying it is "unconstitutional."
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 7:06:07 AM
  • Syrian army say that six have died

    That is conflicting with some of the other numbers that have been reported, where the death toll was around four or five.
    According to Reuters, the army said that the U.S. committed "blatant aggression" against the base. They said there has been damage.
    (SANA/Handout via Reuters)
  • How we got here

    CBC's Nahlah Ayed has been closely following the developments in Syria over the past six years, since the civil war began. Here she provides an explainer of what led to this.

    "The last major chemical attack in Syria in August 2013 almost triggered a U.S. strike but Obama wavered. Instead world powers including the U.S. and Russia agreed to employ the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to remove all such stockpiles from Syria.
    It was a dangerous and ambitious endeavour to find, secure and ship the material. Eventually large stockpiles were put on a ship in the Mediterranean, and we, the media were invited to tour it, amid much fanfare, touting the initiative as an example of diplomacy and international cooperation. The material was neutralised and then sunk in the sea.
    Skeptics doubted the initiative would work. And clearly Syria had not given up all its weapons. Obama's red line, four years later, had been crossed again and this time it came with consequences. Damascus is already claiming the attack hampers its fight against terrorism.
    And it is likely to use the attack to rally its supporters in Syria and beyond."
    (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
    by Haydn Watters edited by nicole.ireland 4/7/2017 7:22:43 AM
    • Thomson Reuters

    Japan's on board

    Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, said he is in favour of the air strikes in wake of Syria's use of deadly chemical weapons earlier this week.
    "Many innocent people became victims from the chemical attacks. The international community was shocked by the tragedy that left many young children among the victims ... Japan supports the U.S. government's determination to prevent the spread and use of  chemical weapons."
  • Emergency UN meeting

    According to Reuters, the Russian foreign ministry is calling for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. They also say they have suspended their Syria air safety agreement with the U.S.
    The agreement makes sure that the Russian and U.S. pilots aren't clashing or running into one another.
  • The world reacts

    We've been bringing you what each country has been saying about the attack as they happen but we're keeping a running record of all the statements here:

    World reaction to the U.S. missile strike on Syria

    A summary of comment from countries following the U.S. decision to attack a government-controlled airbase in Syria.
  • Trump takes a hit with his die-hard supporters

    Sure, the decision to strike Syria has been supported by many countries. But some of Trump's biggest fans aren't impressed. They think it breaks some of the promises he made on the campaign trail to stay out of Syria.
    American conservative writer and commentator Ann Coulter had a lot to say:
    Laura Ingraham's another prominent conservative writer. She called it a complete policy change.
  • A look from the Middle East

    Derek Stoffel is the CBC's Middle East bureau chief. He's following how people have been reacting to the U.S. strike.
    "Some nations in the Middle East that felt Barack Obama had abandoned their troubled region are welcoming what they see as the United States finally stepping up to play a bigger role in ending the war in Syria, which is now in its seventh year.
    Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first to offer his support of the American military action, saying “Israel fully supports President Trump's decision.”
    Saudi Arabia also backed the U.S. escalation, and while we’ve not yet seen official statements from other Middle Eastern nations, the Americans can expect support from both Jordan and Egypt, especially after the leaders of those two nations met with Trump in Washington this week, where the president heaped praise on both for their country’s role in fighting international terrorism.
    Yaakov Amidror, a former national security advisor to prime minister Netanyahu, said Trump’s military action is a signal to American allies in the Middle East that “you are not alone. America is here to help you, if America decided that it fits into its interests."
  • Hollande has his say

    We heard earlier this evening from France's foreign minister. But now, French President Francois Hollande has weighed in on the attack.
    He said France and Germany will continue efforts through the United Nations to achieve the best response to the chemical attacks.
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