Secretary James Mattis, General Joseph Dunford Explain US Military Strike on Damascus

President Trump announced in a statement on Friday evening that the United States military would be conducting an immediate joint-military strike against Syria alongside the United Kingdom and France.

Roughly an hour after the announcement, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford conducted a press conference at the Pentagon to detail the military strike against multiple chemical weapon sites in Damascus, Syria.

"The world knows the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the (President Bashir al-) Assad regime. On April 7, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents," Mattis began.

The Defense Secretary went on to explain that Trump decided on the strike because the country had a "vital national interest" in stopping a potential catastrophe in Syria and deterring the use of chemical weapons.

"Earlier today, President Trump directed the U..S Military to conduct operations in consonance with our allies to destroy the Syrian regime's chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities," Mattis said. "Tonight France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure."

"In conducting these strikes we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties," he continued.

Dunford then went into detail about the military strategy regarding the strike.

"The targets that were struck and destroyed were specifically associated with the Syrian regime's chemical weapons program. We also selected targets that would minimize the risk to innocent civilians. The first target was a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area. This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology."

"The second target was a chemical weapon storage facility, west of Homs. We assessed that this was the primary location of Syrian sarin (gas) and precursor production equipment," Dunford said. "The third target, which was in the vicinity of the second target, contained both a chemical weapon equipment storage facility and an important command post."

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Naval forces from the United States, United Kingdom and France were all used to carry out the attack. The two confirmed to reporters that as of the press conference the strikes had ceased for the time being.

"Tonight, I ask all Americans to say a prayer for our noble warriors and our allies as they carry out their missions," Trump said in his original statement. "We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria. We pray that god will guide the whole region toward a future of dignity and of peace."