[UPDATE 10:43 p.m. ET]: The Pentagon released a statement on the airstrike:
Statement from Pentagon Spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis on U.S. strike in Syria pic.twitter.com/YKO4O9EveF
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) April 7, 2017
It was reported late Thursday night that the United States had launched Tomahawk missiles into Syria in response to the chemical attack attributed to the Syrian regime.
Reports are that the number of missiles in the airstrike are roughly 60. The strike targeted a runway and aircraft, and the missiles were launched from ships in the Mediterranean.
Earlier in the day, there were reports that President Donald Trump was weighing potential military options in reaction to the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. On Wednesday, he stated that the attack “crossed a lot of lines.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also commented on Syria Thursday, stating that the administration was looking at an “appropriate response.”
This is the first actual military action against the Assad government. While the United States has engaged in airstrikes in Syria since 2014, those have only targeted terrorist groups.
Tillerson told reporters after the strike that the U.S. is fairly certain sarin nerve gas was used.
Briefing reporters, SecState Tillerson says the US has “a very high level of confidence” that the Assad regime used “sarin nerve gas.”
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 7, 2017
It was also reported that America warned Russia prior to the missile launches that the airstrike was coming. Per the reports, Russian assets were not targeted. Before the United States launched the airstrike, a Russian envoy warned of potential “negative consequences” should America retaliate.
CNN noted that more than two dozen members of Congress were briefed on the airstrike beforehand.
A White House official tells CNN more than two dozen members of the House and Senate were briefed on the strikes before they happened.
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) April 7, 2017