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EST. 1915

Syrian Bombing

Updated: Oct 5, 2018

Danielle Sheahan


After reading up on the bombing in Syria, that took place approximately from last Friday night (April 13th) to Saturday morning (April 14th), from a few different news sources, I realized The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The New York Times all had very similar things to say. The biggest difference between the three was that The Guardian focused on the Syrian civilians killed in the chemical strike put on by the Syrian government, lead by Mr. Bashar al-Assad, while the other articles focused on what was bombed and what the possible consequences that might come out of it.


Three sites were bombed in two different locations with the use of roughly 105 American, British, and French military missiles. The publicly reported reason for bombing Syria, was that Syria crossed the “red line” according to Trump. The “red line” crossed was the Syrian government using chemical weapons on their own citizens who live in the city of Douma, which is also considered as being in the rebel territory. The rebels only have control of a relatively small part of Syria as seen in Figure 1 below taken from The New York Times article “U.S., Britain and France Strike Syria Over Suspected Chemical Weapons Attack.”


Figure 1: Syria Control Borders and Locations of the Three Sites Bombed During the Late Night of Friday, April 13/Early Morning of Saturday, April 14

The rebels in this territory are fighting against the government leader, Mr. Bashar al-Assad, who is assumed to be the one who consented for the chemical warfare to be initiated. President Trump and the British and French military wanted to put a stop to the use of what was thought to be chlorine and sarin gas according to The Guardian article “Dozens killed in suspected chemical attack on Syrian rebel enclave.” Discouraging the use of chemical weapons was also the reason why Trump allowed for the smaller missile strike on Syria in April of 2017 following reports of at least three chemical (sarin and nerve gas) attacks facilitated by the Syrian government on its citizens.


In 2017, after the first bombing, inspections were done on a few research facilities in Syria. One of those facilities was the Barzah Research Center. “The Western intelligence report, according to the BBC, found that the Barzah facility specialized in installing chemical weapons on long-range missiles and artillery.” - The Washington Post, “Details emerge about Syrian sites targeted by U.S.-led airstrikes“ Consequently, in the recent bombing on April 13th, 2018, the Barzah Research Facility was declared to be demolished.


These research centers, like the Barzah Research Center, have been assumed to be around since the early 2010’s; however, the initial research and production of chemical weapons in Syria has been progressing since the 1980’s. Originally, the effort was intended to help the Syrian government to protect its civilians from Israeli attacks, but has shifted its purpose is recent years during its civil war.

A former Pentagon correspondent for NBC News (1993-1997) wrote an opinion piece orienting the messages that the recent US missile strike of the research center implies. He believes that the bombing of the chemical weapons facilities declares that President Trump supports Mr. Bashar al-Assad in his civil war efforts as long as he is not killing his own citizens with chemical warfare. This act could be considered illegal on international standards because there could have been other actions done prior to bombing. He suggests that these other actions could consist of doing inspections prior to the strike to make sure these facilities were actually operational or if there could have been any negotiating done, instead of just sending missiles down on the already torn country. Alternately, according to The Guardian, there were 42 people killed and over 100 people injured on Friday night by the chemical attack. This is also considered illegal on international standards due to it being abuse to one's own civilians.


Ultimately, this is a very complex situation and is not a new subject to society. I encourage students to read multiple sources and try to make their own opinions on matters like this. As I stated previously, the articles I read all had similar information about the missiles and who was involved, but it was the details and the focus that differed in each article.

Sources:

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/syria-strikes/

  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/after-syria-attack-us-and-russia-tensions-rise-but-military-confrontation-fears-ease/2018/04/14/d7a48d32-3fdb-11e8-a7d1-e4efec6389f0_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2af44b6198d5

  3. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/08/syrian-government-accused-of-chemical-attacks-on-civilians-in-eastern-ghouta

  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/opinion/syria-bombing.html

  5. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/world/middleeast/trump-strikes-syria-attack.html

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