Addressing the nation from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the president announced that he had authorized “a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched”. Trump was referring to a chemical weapons attack on Tuesday that killed more than 80 people, including dozens of women and children, in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun.
The chemical attack had in all likelihood been carried out by the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
But what will the US’s military strike – a barrage of at least 59 (offensively named) Tomahawk cruise missiles aimed at a lone airfield – really accomplish?
According to reports, the missiles targeted only a single Syrian airfield and not Syria’s air defenses. In other words, the attack does not ground Syria’s air force.