The suggestion that the U.S. missile strikes against the al-Shayrat airbase in Syria was all for show is likely correct despite reports that six to seven people were killed. The strikes were in response to a chemical weapons attack on #Syrian civilians in Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday of last week. Other reports say that the 59 tomahawk cruise missiles targeting the base had hit their targets and destroyed up to 20 jets but in the same day it was reported that the al-Shayrat airbase was functional again to conduct more attacks on rebel forces and/or ISIS controlled areas by Syrian jets. U.S. intelligence says that they've spotted earth-moving vehicles at the base days after the attacks, and CBS News national security correspondent David Martin said that six Syrian jets were spotted being moved to the al-Assad airbase which has been used by the Russians since 2015..
The U.S military attack on the Syrian airbase was apparently already on the table but not O.K.'d by the previous administration after the chemical attacks in 2013. #President Trump has even blamed Obama for not taking action against the Assad regime after the former president said that the Syrian government had crossed a “red line." But now Trump has said that not only had the Syrian government crossed that line but that “many lines” had been crossed. Many experts have said in discussions over military action against the Assad regime that airstrips should also be cratered in order to prevent jets from taking off, however, Trump offered a reason as to why they didn't do this saying that they would only be repaired quickly and re-used again.
New strikes against civilians, rebels and ISIS
In a report published by ABC News titled: “Syrian jets take off from air base hit by US” a U.S. official confirmed that the airbase was active again but could not confirm the reports of other strikes by the Syrian government. But the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the same town of Khan Sheikhoun was hit again by air strikes that following Saturday. This also comes at the same time that the Turkish government, who support the toppling of Assad, say that if nothing more is done to hold Assad accountable, the U.S. strikes would only be cosmetic.
Initially, reports were that jets leaving al-Shayrat attacked rebel forces which many experts suggested would be how the Syrian government would retaliate against the U.S. But other reports said that they were distributed to ISIS-controlled areas. Other details from these sources state that U.S.-led air strikes had killed 21 people in other parts of Syria which included a woman and six children who were trying to flee Raqqa in a boat across the Euphrates River. This parallels the new offensive against the Islamic State in Raqqa by coalition forces which -- as reported by Blasting News -- the Syrian government has rejected as illegitimate.
As of this writing, no one can really say whether Syrians or Russia were behind recent air strikes in other parts of the country where more casualties have been reported.
Syria will test Trump
President Trump has reportedly sent a letter to Congress which under Congressional law is required to explain his reasons for ordering the attack against a government and whether there are any intentions for a longer campaign. This formality is required despite the #White House saying that the strikes were limited to the one. But the White House has also warned the Assad regime that the U.S. is willing and ready to act again if there are any more chemical attacks. But, they've also indicated that they do not intend on toppling the Syrian president even with pressure from regional powers who are demanding it. This still doesn't change the fact that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley have gone farther to say so.
Other reports have said that along with not targeting the airstrip that the military also did not target storage facilities that might have chemical weapons, saying that was not the goal. But the continuous bombing of civilian targets by the Syrian government and the Russians will only test Trump's administration to see if they will make a further effort to change their position on Syria. Sen. Lindsey Graham said in his interview with "Meet The Press" on Sunday: “Here's what I think Assad's telling Trump by flying from this base: "F you,” a statement which might very well have staying power until President Trump takes action that leaves a greater impact, again.