UPDATE [4/13/18, 9:44 p.m. EST]:
British Prime Minister Theresa May has issued a statement on Friday evening’s airstrikes:
“This evening I have authorized British armed forces to conduct coordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.”
We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized — within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world. We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none. History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe. That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do.”
President Donald Trump addressed the nation late Friday evening saying that he had ordered preemptive strikes in Syria in conjunction with France and the United Kingdom.
Trump said that these actions were taken in response to the “savage chemical weapons attack” that Assad took against his own people roughly one year ago in addition to the attacks that took place last Saturday.
“The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,” the president said in his address to the nation Friday evening.
Watch President Trump’s remarks below:
Trump claimed that the U.S., U.K., and France are “prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”
Shifting the focus of the speech to Iran and Russia — calling both nations “two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping, and financing the criminal Assad regime” — Trump posed a rhetorical question:
“I ask what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?”
He continued by saying that “the nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.”
“Hopefully someday we’ll get along with Russia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not,” he added.
Rounding out the briefing remarks, Trump said that the U.S. would do everything in its ability to be “a partner and a friend” of the much-conflicted region, but that ultimately the fate of those people lay in their own hands.
“By the end of World War I more than 1 million people had been killed or injured by chemical weapons. We never want to see that ghastly specter return,” the president said.
Ending his remarks, President Trump called for prayers, both for the troops conducting the attacks in Syria, the Syrian people themselves, and the United States:
“Tonight I ask all Americans to say a prayer for our noble warriors and our allies as they carry out their missions. We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria.”